What To Know Before Using Tooth Powders

Tooth powders are one of the hottest trends in alternative dental care right now, but they're far from a new product. In fact, tooth powders were some of the first widely used products for cleaning the teeth before toothpaste became popular. Tooth powders aren't the miracle cures they're often marketed as, but they can clean your teeth as well as pastes if you choose the right product. 

Watch Out for Highly-Abrasive Ingredients

Not all tooth powders are equally safe for your teeth. Some are based on or include abrasives that are too rough and can weaken and remove the enamel layer on your teeth. Even common ingredients like baking soda and activated charcoal powder are often far too abrasive for everyday use. When you find a tooth powder that you are interested in, get a full ingredient list and investigate each of them independently. Don't assume that a tooth powder is safe just because the manufacturer claims it is not too abrasive.

Limit Exposure to Oils and Cinnamon

Many tooth powders are designed to bring in consumers who want a more natural oral health routine. To achieve this end, they include essential oils and herbal ingredients instead of standardized flavorings. Natural ingredients can still cause you harm, especially when they're used on a sensitive part of the body like the mucous membranes in the mouth. Many essential oils are linked to oral sores or gum irritation. Cinnamon in particular, as an extract, oil, or powder, is known for causing serious and painful reactions inside the mouth.

Find Other Sources of Fluoride

It's hard to find a modern tooth powder product containing fluoride, primarily because of the natural appeal most products rely on for marketing purposes. While adults with healthy diets do get enough fluoride from foods to use a fluoride-free tooth product safely, don't assume you're ready to switch without a dentist's approval. Your dentist can help you make the right choice between fluoridated toothpastes and tooth powders without fluoride, so you don't accidentally cause tooth decay by avoiding necessary minerals.

Avoid Dipping into a Container

Many tooth powders recommend dipping your toothbrush directly into the container to coat it with the right amount of powder. This practice may be convenient, but it deposits bacteria into the powder where it can reproduce freely and cause oral health issues. Use a small spoon or another clean tool to transfer the powder from the container to the brush, or put some of your tooth powder into a salt shaker so you can dust it onto the brush with no contact.