Toothpaste, Charcoal, oil pulling and what dentists think!

Charcoal as a tooth whiten method! Myth or Fact?
Did you know specially treated charcoal is used to treat poisons that have been swallowed?
This is because activated charcoal can absorb and neutralise toxins so they are eliminated via the gastrointestinal tract.
On this basis it does seem logical that charcoal can work to whiten teeth by absorbing stains.

But: We like research. It is hard to do research in this area but the little we have suggests that toothpaste containing activated charcoal may help whiten teeth and reduce stains. Be careful using this type of product because it can be abrasive (wearing your teeth away faster) and it may get stuck at the edges of fillings leaving behind its own stain. Also don't be tempted to make your own charcoal mix. Activated charcoal is a very specialised product

Oil Pulling as an aid to oral health: Myth or Fact?
You may have heard about oil pulling as an alternative medicine practice.
Oil pulling involves a tablespoon full of oil is swished around the mouth in the early morning before breakfast and in empty stomach for about 20 min. So it is really time consuming and is done on an empty stomach so it doesn't replace brushing and flossing for removing food stuff from your teeth. The idea is that the 'bad bacteria' is removed from your mouth by oil pulling but like most things that are rinsed around your mouth the issue is getting into the difficult cracks etc and our normal diet has much more processed and finer food than would have been present when oil pulling was developed.
Some short term studies have been promising but have generally included normal oral hygiene technics such as brushing and flossing. Oil pulling is seen as making healthier bodies but not as a substitute for brushing and flossing.
Check out: Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review

Rinsing with water after brushing: A good idea or not?
Newer recommendations suggest that you spit but don't rinse. This will give you that fresh toothpaste feel for longer and allow for toothpaste to take a more active role in preventing decay.

To use a mouthwash or not: That is the question!
Many people like the fresh effect of mouthwash but as you read above we are recommending not to rinse after toothbrushing so don't toothbrush and then use a mouthwash - they deactivate each other.
Some antibacterial mouthwashes should not be used long term as they effect healthy bacteria. There is concern that mouthwash containing alcohol may lead to an increase in oral cancer. Best speak to the dentist and ask us what we think! There is no definative answer.

Special thank you to the ADA Victorian Branch for its factsheet on these items. Download here.

Children's toothpaste with low dose fluoride is not effective in protecting from tooth decay according to a recent paper. Children at high risk of tooth decay would be be better off to risk fluorosis than the pain and hazards of decay - according to health experts.

The review paper looked at the results of 79 clinical studies which reviewed 73,000 children and found the benefits of fluoride are reduced with low fluoride toothpastes. The review was published within the Cochrane library.

Children under the age of 6 years traditionally have been encouraged to use a child low dose fluoride toothpaste because of the risk that children will swallow the majority of the toothpaste.

Fluorosis is a condition where teeth enamel takes on a mottled white or brown patchy appearance. This is permanent and only occurs when teeth are affect while the enamel is forming within the bone (before the tooth has erupted or grown into the mouth).

Revised: 1 July 2019

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