Fluoride toothpaste has been the standard for dental care since the 1890s. The use of abrasive substances to remove plaque and bacteria from the mouth has been around since ancient civilizations began. When the recommendation for hydrogen peroxide and baking soda came into a recommendation, fluoride in toothpaste made it a standard product for oral hygiene. However, because of various factors, fluoride isn’t the only option for cleaning teeth. Other ingredients, such as charcoal and xylitol, have steadily grown into a more viable option for families everywhere. How do charcoal and xylitol compare with fluoride, and which options present the best oral care solution? Here, we’ll explore these options, their benefits and help you decide which toothpaste is best for you.
The Effects of Xylitol, Charcoal, and Fluoride on Teeth
Cavities and gum disease are still considered highly relevant problems even in today’s age. Because of its abrasive ingredients and added minerals, toothpaste is considered a product that provides preventative measures against bacteria growth and plaque development. However, while the abrasive particles within toothpaste make up the core aspect of their plaque removing capabilities, other added ingredients are made to aid in developing oral health. That’s where xylitol, fluoride, and charcoal come in.
So, what do these ingredients provide for people’s teeth? Here’s what we know about each of these ingredients:
Fluoride: Commonly used with substantial amounts of research behind it, fluoride is a natural mineral found in our bones and teeth.
Research has found that fluoride can reduce the amount of decay in children’s teeth by 60% when added to public water. When added to products such as toothpaste, it can reduce cavity development by 40% in children and 35% in adults, according to the CDC. This is due to its ability to strengthen the enamel and remineralize it. However, in some cases, over-fluoridation can potentially cause dental fluorosis and white spot lesions to develop, specifically in people who have had more exposure to fluoride. Fluoride in larger quantities can also be toxic if heavily ingested. Some people have decided to try alternative ingredients in their tooth products to care for their teeth because of these factors.
Charcoal: Charcoal has become a highly new and ever-growing trend because of its ability to whiten teeth. Activated charcoal can absorb toxins and other compounds, and when used in toothpaste, it has been reported to remove stains without abrasively harming the tooth’s enamel. However, this product hasn’t been concluded to be effective, as studies from the Journal of Applied Oral Science concluded that it was least effective in its whitening capabilities.
Xylitol: Xylitol is a sugar alternative that has been reported to have ant-cavity properties. Because xylitol is non-carcinogenic, meaning that bacteria cannot feed on the sugar alcohol molecules, it has become an excellent alternative for children’s toothpaste to brush their teeth without the worry of ingesting too much. According to the Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry journal, xylitol has been shown to have many benefits as an alternative to toothpaste. It can reduce the risk of developing dental fluorosis.
Which Toothpaste Is Best For You?
Among the variety of toothpaste options, many of these ingredients have their advantages and disadvantages. Fluoride remains the standard product in today’s oral care but can come with side effects for those more susceptible to the effects of fluoride. Charcoal presents itself as an excellent whitening agent but doesn’t have the remineralizing properties that fluoride brings. Xylitol is considered safe for children but may not have the long-term benefits that fluoride brings when developing their adult teeth. So, ultimately, choosing the right toothpaste depends heavily on what you desire for your oral care routine. Before trying any toothpaste, make sure to speak with your dentist about your options.