Our Surf City Dental team receives its share of questions about best natural dental products for at-home care. With so many types of these oral hygiene products sold over the counter, as well as spotlighted as trends on the internet, it’s easy to see why there’s some confusion. And as we head into a new year, there’s bound to be even more natural dental novelties creating buzz. So, we wanted to go over the basics!

Keep in Mind

Do-it-yourself medicinal remedies have been around since the beginning of time. From early accounts of ingredients like coneflower and honey being used as both cures and pain relievers, many of the modern DIY tricks in the dental industry are no different. They seemingly sound like an innovative, fresh solution. But in the long run, there’s usually some gray area as to how they actually work.

It always makes sense to talk with your oral healthcare team at SCD to learn about the impact of these products and pointers. After all, we’ll be able to tell you if you’re doing more harm than good. To start the conversation, we’ve highlighted a few current trends at the sink!

Charcoal Toothpaste

Charcoal-based toothpaste has risen to prominence as of late and many celebrities – The Kardashian/Jenner clan and Gwyneth Paltrow – all swear by it for gleaming smiles. Still, there are some aspects to consider.

The driving force behind charcoal’s appeal is its perceived ability to basically absorb everything in its path, including tartar, bacteria, and stains on your teeth. Looking at it through this lens, it certainly sounds like something that would be powerful in ridding your mouth of unhealthy, unsightly features. However, a recent study by the British Dental Journal found little evidence to support the benefits of charcoal-based toothpaste. They actually revealed it had the opposite effect, raising concerns of the dangers caused by introducing charcoal to your mouth – especially for those with tooth fillings. Most charcoal dental products also don’t contain fluoride, which is strongly recommended for combating tooth decay.

And while charcoal has been proven as a whitening agent, those effects are only surface level. It isn’t touching those deeper stains, which most likely are the crux of your tooth discoloration issues.

DIY Teeth Whitening Kits

While teeth whitening is popular year-round, more people definitely step up to the tray during the holiday season and new year. At Surf City Dental, we use a practice-grade whitening treatment (Opalescence) to ensure best results. In about an hour, patients walk away with a bright, lasting smile.

Still, some opt for DIY home whitening systems. While they come with a slightly cheaper price tag, the results can be more costly. Aside from their effectiveness being somewhat short term, applying certain at-home whiteners can end up being potentially unsafe. Some research shows that DIY whitening kits have led to mouth infections, stomach problems, gum shrinking and nerve damage.

Homemade Toothpaste

Using the correct toothpaste is essential for maintaining good oral hygiene. Simply put, a DIY toothpaste should never take the place of an approved version.

There are many different reasons why people choose to create their own toothpaste. Some like the idea of controlling every ingredient that goes into the recipe. Others see it as an environmentally conscious move, ensuring that ingredients are reused and eliminating the constant disposal of plastic tubes.

Still, nine times out of ten, people receive their toothpaste recipes through a quick Google search. It’s a roll of the dice on the gateway to your total health: Your mouth. Homemade toothpastes rarely include fluoride or other active ingredients for combatting tooth decay and gum disease (periodontal disease). They’re simply designed for surface-level cleaning, which is not as thorough.

If you’ve considered rolling a new natural product or approach into your oral healthcare regimen, we’d love to discuss the pros and cons with you.

“I always welcome conversations with patients who’ve done research on trends and have some questions,” said Dr. Matthew Parr, D.D.S, owner of Surf City Dental. “That’s our whole approach here… mapping out a plan together that works best for the patient.”