Q&As on New Dental Trends – Charcoal Toothpaste, Banana Skins & More

The great thing about the internet is that it is now easier than ever to access information and tips, but it’s also easier to come across incorrect or misinformation on new products such as charcoal toothpaste.

So we thought we’d have a Q&A session with our dentists to see what their thoughts on some recent dental trends are:

Charcoal Toothpaste

Charcoal toothpaste has started hitting the shelves in the last few years and promises to get rid of stubborn long lasting stains. They look very interesting as they come as a black gel – completely opposite to the white toothpastes we’ve become accustom to.

Dr. Andrew

Charcoal toothpastes claim to whiten teeth using charcoal to polish away staining. This may be true – but it likely isn’t any more effective than traditional whitening toothpastes. Many whitening toothpastes contain an abrasive intended to lightly polish away superficial stains and charcoal does the exact same thing. The only difference would be charcoal is black and traditional whitening toothpastes use white silica (sand).  A possible drawback to be wary of is that the black charcoal may get underneath leaky fillings and fine divets of teeth to leave extra staining.  Also many charcoal toothpastes contain fluoride which can act as a sort of insurance against tooth decay so users may have to be more diligent with brushing.

Charcoal toothpaste are not harmful but they need to be used with care if they are used instead of traditional fluoride containing toothpastes. If patients wish to use it, we recommend using it together with, not instead of, traditional toothpastes.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling can be done with coconut oil. A small amount is used to rinse around the mouth to draw or pull bacteria away from teeth to stop decay.

Dr. Montana

Oil pulling may play a part in mechanically reducing the amount of bacteria around teeth and gums as swishing around liquids or brushing teeth will disrupt bacteria colonies. By far and away the most effective way is to disrupt bacteria in your mouth is to brush and floss as the toothbrush bristles are very effective at breaking up the colonies. If patients wish to oil pull, we recommend still brushing and flossing your teeth to make sure you don’t expose yourself to a higher rate of tooth decay.

Charcoal Toothpaste or Banana Skins to Whiten TeethUsing banana peels to whiten your teeth

Using the inside of a ripe banana peel to rub against your teeth to leave them whiter.

Dr. Sang

Banana peels contain a high amount of potassium and can be a mild abrasive. Just like any abrasive found in toothpaste, the banana peel when rubbed against teeth can hence rub off superficial stains. It would take a fair few times to get any whitening result. If using banana skins doesn’t tickle your fancy, using a traditional whitening toothpaste may get the same result. As the others have mentioned I certainly wouldn’t be using banana skin whitening instead of regular brushing or flossing!

Please contact us if you have any further questions.

Dental Pain – 5 Different Types and Causes of Dental Pain

Ever had that random dental pain and worry about what it might mean? Your teeth are trying to reach out to you – and this is what they might be trying to tell you:

Short sharp sensitivity to cold, or sweet


That glass of cold water that causes you to wince or that ice block that you just can’t bite intoThe pain is short and sharp and is gone within seconds.

You tuck into some chocolate but every so often, in one part of the mouth, you get a short bit of sensitivity.

Possible cause:

Exposed tooth nerves causing dental pain. Nerves can become exposed fairly easily. All it takes is some gum recession or tooth decay to expose dentine. Within dentine there are tubules that connect the tooth nerve with your mouth (or that cold water).

Dull ache or throbbing


You’ve finished for the day, you head to bed and a throbbing ache starts in a tooth that was only niggling before.

You sit down to have your morning cup of coffee but the heat causes a tooth to really ache

Possible cause:

Inflamed or infected nerve. When nerves have been irritated for an extended amount of time or when they’ve passed the point of being temporarily irritated – tooth pain can come spontaneous and present ass a dull ache instead of a quick sharp pain

Aching pain that moves around

You have a hot tea and then the pain starts along the bottom left jaw and then moves to the top left as well. As annoying as it is you cannot tell where the pain is coming from.

Possible causes:

Inflamed or infected nerve causing radiating or referred pain. This radiating pain can sometimes come from multiple teeth or can be the just the one tooth causing pain that seems like it’s coming from multiple teeth.  Referred pain can move from the top to the bottom of one side but will never move from the left hand side of the mouth to the right and side (and vice versa)

Pain in the jaw joint or cheek muscles

You wake up tired and it feels like you’ve been using your cheek muscles all night as they’re very tight.

Your jaw joints are clicky and it’s very sore on the joint to open wide sometimes.  

Muscular pain around the mouth can come from many different reasons. Some can come from clenching or grinding and others can come from degeneration of the temporal mandibular joint (TMJ). Just like the diagnosis, treatment for muscular pain can really vary too – so proper diagnoses is key.

Dental pain around the sinuses

You’ve had a cold and your sinuses are sore. At the same time your top teeth feel weak and are sore to chew with.

When your sinuses are inflamed you can get referred pain to your top teeth as there is increased pressure at the roots of the top back tooth. This can feel like toothache but it is not as common – so as a rule if suspicious of any pain coming from the teeth it’s best to get it checked rather than assume it is coming from the sinus.   

Hopefully these tips allow you to interpret some of the messages your teeth are sending you. Although it’s good to know why you’re getting pain it’s another thing to try to get the problem fixed. Please let us know if you’re experiencing these symptoms so we can let you know how you can get you individual problem looked at, diagnosed and resolved.

Sensitive Teeth – What Causes Them and How Can It Be Managed

Sensitive Teeth AshgroveSensitive teeth can occur for a wide range of reasons, some as innocuous as extra sensitivity, to more concerning problems such as tooth decay or infection.
The tricky part is telling these causes apart!

Extra sensitive teeth

Some people simply have extra sensitive teeth! We call this hypersensitivity and although treatment is not typically required, the good news is this can usually be managed well at home with products such as a sensitive toothpaste.

Receding gums

Ever heard the saying “long in the tooth”? It should really be called “short in the gums”! It is true that your gums can recede with age however this can also occur in younger patients.
Gum disease, missing adjacent teeth, and repositioning of teeth after orthodontic treatment are all possible causes although overly hard brushing is one of the more common culprits. As the gum migrates further down the tooth, more of the root is exposed causing sensitivity.
It’s best to either prevent this recession or maintain our gums before the recession worsens.

Enamel wear 

Enamel is the hard protective layer on the outermost part of our teeth. This can be worn away over time due to acid erosion or hard tooth brushing habits, leaving the more sensitive dentine layer exposed.
Monitor acidic foods and drinks such as fizzy drinks, lemon water, some fruits, wine and vinegar, and try to avoid their contact with your teeth by drinking through a straw or rinsing with plain water.
Internal acids, such as those resulting from reflux, are also risk factors for enamel erosion and it is best to address the causes of these acids where possible.
Also remember to use a soft toothbrush and a gentle brushing technique to avoid over-scrubbing your pearly whites! Where enamel loss is more significant, a filling can be placed to cover the exposed tooth surface. This replaces your enamel and will help protect the tooth from further wear.

Chipped teeth causing sensitive teeth

Similarly to enamel wear, when a tooth fractures, the second dentine layer of the tooth can be exposed, leading to sensitivity. This is usually resolved once the broken portion is repaired and the tooth is covered and sealed again.

Tooth decay causing sensitivity

Tooth decay can cause a cavity within your tooth resulting in sensitivity. Initially this may be sensitive to cold only although sensitivity to hot food and drinks can mean the nerve is deteriorating further.
Often a simple filling is all that is required however, in more severe conditions, infection may mean further treatment is necessary.
Regardless of the cause of tooth sensitivity, the best practice for you and your mouth is to get checked out while the problem is still manageable.
We’re here to help with any questions you may have, to ensure you can keep smiling until you’re grey in the hair and not “long in the tooth”!
Please give us a call on 3878 3889 or click here to use our online contact form.

Dental Care – 5 Healthy Habits to Practice

Dental care – these small habits can seem innocent by themselves – but repeat the offence numerous times and they can really accumulate to negatively affect your pearly whites.

1. Relying on mouthwash for dental care

Using mouthwash for dental care works great for some extra cleaning power and to freshen your breath – when used in conjunction with brushing twice and flossing once every day.
Where it can let you down is when you rely on it to do the job of other tools – like the toothbrush and floss. Mouthwash is good at getting into crevices and gaps our toothbrush and floss cannot, but only if there is a toothbrush or floss disturbing the bacteria and plaque sticking to our teeth and gums beforehand. If we use mouthwash without brushing and flossing, it only really scratches the surface. Allowing the plaque and bacteria to remain as they are promotes tooth decay and gum disease and will have an adverse effect on your dental health.

2. Brushing too hard – need for more gentle dental care

What’s worse than brushing twice a day? Doing it incorrectly so not only are you wasting time – but also damaging your dental health.
We often see people who scrub at their gums which causes enamel to wear away and your gums to recede away. The correct method is to hold your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums and use very light inwards pressure whilst moving the brush in circular motions – not back and forth like you’re scrubbing.
If you want a good test, use your toothbrush to push down on your gums with the same force you would when you brush your teeth – If you have the right pressure, your gums should really only slightly blanch – if at all. If your gums are blanched very white – try to reduce the pressure with which you push down to brush.

3. Brushing with any toothbrush but the softest you can find

You really should be using a soft or extra-soft toothbrush – anything harder is too hard and can cause needless damage.
Similar to brushing too hard, it can be very difficult to change habits when it comes to your toothbrush preference. The two go hand in hand – and we’ll often get patient say ‘but the soft ones lose their shape so quickly!’ If you can make a soft toothbrush last three months – it shows you have good brushing technique! If your soft toothbrush isn’t lasting three months and goes ‘furry’, try to be more gentle when brushing and to use a circular action instead of a back and forth scrubbing. If you’re still getting issues – let us know and we’ll be happy to help!

4. Chewing ice

Some of us are very guilty of this! (Dr. Sang)
Dr. Sang has actually cracked a perfectly good, never before filled, molar tooth – just by chewing on ice.
Your jaw muscles are very strong. Without our brain’s protective reflex telling us to stop biting (think of the last time you quickly stopped biting after accidentally biting your cheek on tongue) we can easily damage our own teeth by biting too hard.
Chewing on ice really tests this reflex. Ice can go from very hard to very soft extremely quickly and this can stop this protective reflex from working. The result? Our teeth banging against each other a lot harder than they should – causing costly and painful microfractures and cracks .

5. Loving lemons and orange smiles

Lemons are used commonly to freshen up some otherwise plain water. Great on a hot day but damaging to our teeth. The acid in the lemon corrodes away at our teeth and literally dissolves away the enamel layer. Again, this won’t happen after one drink, but if you multiply two or three glasses a day for multiple years – it really builds up!
Another innocent past time is biting down and keeping in orange slices. Your kids might do this when tucking into some fruit as a snack or during weekend sports breaks. As refreshing and fun as it is to have an orange slice mouthguard – it really increases the acid wear on our teeth. If your kids can’t let go of the past time – just make sure they’re rinsing with some water afterwards.