Activated Charcoal Toothpaste or Powder

Maria Iavarone, RDH

Activated Charcoal Toothpaste or Powder

Activated charcoal toothpaste and powders have been gaining popularity the past few years. Ads have been flooding social media. You may have seen the YouTube videos and the Pinterest before and after photos. It has become a true dental fad. Charcoal is not only a trend right now, but historically ancient Romans used charcoal, amongst other products to clean teeth. As a dental hygienist, I get questions about charcoal toothpaste often. Does the toothpaste actually whiten the teeth? Does it help prevent gingivitis? Is charcoal toothpaste effective and safe to use? 

Unfortunately, the answer is unclear on the effectiveness and safety of using activated charcoal toothpastes or powders. The Journal of the American Dental Association did a literature review of 118 articles and smaller studies done on charcoal and charcoal-based toothpastes. The conclusion was that there was insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy of charcoal and charcoal-based toothpastes. Larger-scale and well-designed studies are needed to establish conclusive evidence (Brooks, Bashirelahi, & Reynolds, 2017). The Pharmaceutical Journal states, there have been no scientific studies published that support the effectiveness of charcoal toothpastes in tooth whitening, oral hygiene and any claimed preventative effects (Greenwall & Wilson, 2017).  

From information I have gathered from journal articles written on the subject, activated charcoal toothpastes are seemingly effective in removing surface stains from coffee, tea, red wine,etc. This is most likely due to the abrasive nature of activated charcoal. There has not been enough evidence to show that activated charcoal toothpaste has an effect on whitening yellow teeth. Activated charcoal is characteristically absorbent,however in the form of a toothpaste, it may be the abrasiveness that is contributing to the removal of the stain. The abrasive nature of activated charcoal can be seen as a potential concern as well. Activated carbon is more grainy than traditional pastes and can potentially cause damage to the teeth (Potts, 2018). There was not much information supporting gum health, however some reviews claimed that a side effect was gum irritation. There are a lot of positive claims and a lot of negative claims, yet no claim is supported by enough clinical evidence to be deemed as true.

In conclusion, we have to take this information lightly because there is not enough substantial evidence to support these claims. Because activated charcoal toothpastes and powders have grown in popularity, there are a lot of companies making this type product right now and some may be putting harmful ingredients into the mix. RDH magazine claims that some foreign brands of toothpaste may contain toxic ingredients. We must exercise caution when buying a product like this. Several charcoal toothpastes or powders on the market right now do not contain Fluoride, which is the key ingredient for cavity prevention. If you’re using a charcoal toothpaste without Fluoride, your dental professional may recommend supplementing with a Fluoride mouth rinse. My recommendation would be to read the ingredients carefully when purchasing toothpaste, especially if it is not from a reputable company.  Be cautious if using activated charcoal toothpaste or powder and do not use it long-term until more research has been published to support the safety and efficacy of the product.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

Brooks, J. K., Bashirelahi, N., & Reynolds, M. A. (2017). Charcoal and Charcoal-Based Dentifrices. The Journal of the American Dental Association, 148(9), 661-670.

Greenwall, L., & Wilson, N. H. (2017, July 13). Charcoal toothpastes: what we know so far. Retrieved February 16, 2019, from The Pharmaceutical Journal: https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/opinion/correspondence/charcoal-toothpastes-what-we-know-so-far/20203167.article?firstPass=false

Potts, K. (2018, July 1). Marketing Ingenuity or Beneficial Dentifrice? Retrieved Februrary 16, 2019, from RDH Magazine: https://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-38/issue-7/content/marketing-ingenuity-or-beneficial-dentifrice.html

Do I need to take antibiotics before my dental visit?

Lacee Hogle, RDH

Do I need to take antibiotics before my dental visit?

Physicians and dentists may recommend that a patient takesantibiotics prior to certain dental procedures. This is called “antibiotic prophylaxis”. But why do physicians and dentists at times recommend antibiotic prophylaxis?

All of us have bacteria in our mouths, and many dental procedures allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This is known as bacteremia. For most of us, this does not pose a problem. A healthy immune system typically prevents the bacteria from causing any harm. There is a concern, however, that for some people, bacteremia could potentially cause an infection elsewhere in the body. 

Who is at risk? 

Antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended for people who have specific heart conditions. In 2008, the American Heart Association released new guidelines identifying people who need to take antibiotics prior to dental care. Antibiotic prophylaxis should be considered for people with:

Artificial heart Valves

A history of endocarditis

A heart transplant with abnormal heart valve function

Certain congenital heart defects including:

Unrepaired cyanotic congenital heart disease, including people with palliative shunts and conduit

Defects repaired with prosthetic material or a device for the first six months after the repair procedure

Repaired congenital heart disease with residual defects, such as persisting leaks or abnormal flow at or adjacent to a prosthetic patch or prosthetic device

 

The guidelines prior to 2008 suggested use of antibiotics for many additional conditions. Conditions for which antibiotic prophylaxis is no longer recommended include:

Mitral valve prolapse or heart murmur

Rheumatic heart disease 

Bicuspid valve disease

Calcified aortic stenosis

Any heart condition present from birth that is not listed above

 

Antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines were also developed for those who have orthopedic implants, such as artificial joints. In the past, antibiotics were recommended for two years post artificial joint placement. And in rare occasions, more than two years. In 2012, the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons updated these recommendations.

The new guidelines do not recommend routinely prescribing antibiotics for people with artificial joints. Due to these changes, dentists and physicians rely more on case-by-case assessments and consultation with patients to determine when antibiotics are appropriate with orthopedic implants. For example, antibiotic prophylaxis might be used for the patients that also have a compromised immune system which might increase the risk of orthopedic implant infection.

If you have a heart condition or an orthopedic implant, talk with your dentist or physician about whether antibiotic prophylaxis is necessary. 

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/infective-endocarditis

http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Member%20Center/Files/PT ED Page Antibiotics 2.ashx

“My teeth are sensitive.”

IMG_2494

Amy Smith, RDH

“My teeth are sensitive.”

One of the most common concerns voiced in the dental office; here are a couple solutions. First we need to differentiate between gum and tooth sensitivity. If you have symptoms of sore, bleeding, or red gums, this would indicate gum sensitivity. If you drink cold or hot foods/drinks and begin to feel a “ZING” feeling to the tooth and nerves, this would indicate tooth sensitivity. First and foremost, the easiest method of gum sensitivity prevention it to brush, floss, and remain consistent with your dental re-care visits. In addition, there are different toothpastes and fluoride treatment that can help with tooth sensitivity.  

#1- Home Care: By staying on top of a great home care routine of brushing twice per day for two minutes and integrating a method of flossing, there with be less plaque retention around the gums. This plaque can be causing irritation, inflammation, and in some cases bleeding. By improving your home care regimen, gum pain can reduce and furthermore protect your teeth from decay.

#2- Desensitizing Toothpaste: Sensodyne toothpaste, MI Paste, and PreviDent are created specifically for remineralization of the tooth but also help with sensitivity. Sensodyne is available over the counter while MI Paste and PreviDent are stronger strength and can be dispensed at the dental office. Remember when using these toothpastes to brush, spit, but do NOT rinse. It is important to allow the ingredients to sit on the teeth rather than rinse away with water.

#3- Fluoride Treatment: There are a few different methods of fluoride treatment available for patients. One in specific that has an easy and swift application would be a fluoride varnish. These vitamins are tooth-colored and painted onto the teeth after a cleaning. It is designed to assist with tooth sensitivity and promote remineralization of the tooth. Fluoride varnish is great for all ages and it comes in various flavors.

One size does not fit all to meet our patient’s needs for treatment of sensitivity. Ask your hygienist if you have any other questions regarding sensitivity to chose a possible treatment that is best for you.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sensitive-teeth/faq-20057854