Toothpaste Alternatives, or not
Over the last few years a number of so-called “alternative toothpaste” have begun appearing within the eyes of mainstream consumerism. Everything from charcoal toothpaste to applying minerals, oils, or mixtures to the teeth. Many of these techniques are not as new as we tend to think and there is still a strong presence of such methods as the use of sea salt, hydrogen peroxide, oils, plain water brushing, baking soda, and many more. Below is a list of a just of a few of these fads and a brief exploration into their usage. None of these is an alternative to seeing your dentist twice a year for that Tulsa teeth cleaning.
Charcoal Toothpaste: These are various forms of activated charcoal and are primarily used for whitening your teeth. There is minimal research on frequent use of these products on teeth and dentists recommend using them sparingly and with caution. Suggested use is limited to once every other week, and not to be used for prolonged periods during any single application.
Tooth Powder: As the name implies, these products are dry powders that you apply to your teeth in place of toothpaste. Tooth Powders predate modern toothpaste and most of them only supply a few of the key ingredients that can be found in ADA approved toothpaste. These usually include a cleaning agent, an abrasive agent, and a flavoring agent.
Sea Salt: You can soak a small amount of sea salt in a tiny container of water and dip your toothbrush into it and then use that for brushing your teeth. The salt provides both an abrasive component and critical nutrients for your gums and teeth. While not strictly taboo, you do want to be sure not to ingest the sodium or brush too vigorously.
Hydrogen Peroxide: Works on the teeth and gums as a mild antiseptic, eating away at topical layers of bacteria and food particulate. It is important to check the instructions and information on the bottle of hydrogen peroxide that you have. Some are fine to use as they are while others need to be mixed with water first.
Oil Pulling: This has gained a lot of traction as a new fad, but it’s actually a dental practice that dates back thousands of years and has its origins in India. Studies have confirmed that it helps to reduce plaque, lower risks of gingivitis, and lessen the presence of unwanted bacteria in the mouth. Standard practice is to use coconut oil, taking a tablespoon of the oil and swishing it in your mouth for around twenty minutes before spitting it out. Make sure that any oil you use is safe before letting it past your lips.
Plain Water Brushing: This is the bare minimum brushing, and while it is still leaps and bounds beyond not brushing at all, your teeth will eventually show the lack of cleaning agents and added nutrients that other options provide.
Baking Soda: Mainly used to remove surface-level stains on the teeth. It also reduces some forms of bacteria in the mouth and can help to regulate oral PH. Experts recommend being sparing in your use, though. While baking soda isn’t high on the abrasiveness scale for oral hygiene products, it remains important that you brush gently so as not to wear away your enamel.
Most of the purposes for these products are things that your local dentist will gladly help you with, but using professional materials that are applied by a professional hand. So don’t hesitate to come in for a Tulsa teeth cleaning and see what services suit your needs!
There are numerous products and options for supplementing your at-home oral hygiene care, but none of them are sound replacements for quality toothpaste. Do your research before practicing any of the methods mentioned above and make sure that you don’t cut actual toothpaste out of your routine. And don’t forget to schedule a Tulsa teeth cleaning appointment with Tulsa Modern Dental!