Activated Charcoal

black is the new white

At home DIY whitening has become very popular over the last year.  There are many different Do-It-Yourself products that have been suggested, but I’m going to focus on the one that’s gone viral; Charcoal Whitening.  Activated Charcoal is being advertised to remove the stain, toxins and bacteria from your teeth leaving them whiter as a result.  Why do people whiten their teeth? Teeth become discolored over time do to natural discoloration from coffee, tea, smoking, red wine, aging, poor diet, some supplements, breathing through your mouth, and continuous dry mouth.  Stain is intrinsic, extrinsic, or both and it’s important to remember that restorative work such a crowns and veneers will not change with whitening.

What is Activated Charcoal? Charcoal is made from wood, coal, or other substances and it becomes activated once high temperatures are combined with a gas or activating agent to expand its surface area (1).  It then turns into a porous material that removes impurities from the surfaces around it and leaves the area clean. So, how does it whiten your teeth? The crushed charcoal powder that you apply to your wet toothbrush is gently brushed onto your teeth, and then you let it set for about 3 minutes.  The charcoal sticks to the rough surfaces on your teeth, such as surface stains and plaque, which get removed when you rinse the charcoal off.  Make sure you thoroughly rinse before brushing your teeth again. Activated Charcoal only removes surface stains, it will not change teeth that are deeply stained or naturally yellowing, more advanced professional whitening needs to be done for that.

The big question is, is it safe? We know it is safe for ingesting, as it has been used since the early 1990’s as a treatment for poisoning and overdoses.  In relation to Activated Charcoal being used as a dental product, there have been very limited studies that show the long term effects of what it will do to your teeth or overall health over a long period of time. If you choose to use this product, please use it cautiously, and be sure to lightly graze teeth when applying, do not scrub. An alternate option to pure Activated Charcoal which appears to be safe is, Black is White toothpaste by Curaprox Inc. This toothpaste uses activated carbon to remove stain and whiten teeth; it contains 950-ppm fluoride and nanohydroxyapatite (nHA) (1). This is important because the Flouride and nHA particles get deposited onto demineralized  enamel surfaces when brushing. These particles remineralize the enamel keeping teeth stronger, decrease risk of thinning enamel, sensitivity, and decay.

According to YouTube and many responses to online articles, many people have appeared to get great results from Activated Charcoal Whitening, while others had very little results or suffered from extreme sensitivity. This DIY product is still new and The American Dental Association stated “There is no evidence that shows dental products with charcoal are safe or effective for your teeth, according to the September 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.” (2) If you choose to try Activated Charcoal as a DIY whitening remedy, I would encourage you to only use for a short period of time as needed and not as everyday toothpaste.

It’s important to remember that although we all want whiter teeth, whitening products are abrasive and do break down the enamel on our teeth which does not repair itself like other parts of our body, once enamel is gone, it’s gone. If enamel gets too thin, teeth are more susceptible to breaking, decay or have a more grey appearance. If you decide to whiten your teeth, I would encourage you to discuss with your dentist before you start, and stop if you experience any discomfort or sensitivity.



Sippy Cups!

Sippy cups are a daily hassle for parents. What one do I choose? Where did it go? Where are all the pieces? Nearly one-third of toddlers with tooth decay problems used sippy cups, according to the study published in the Journal of Dentistry for Children. Sippy cups were developed for children who have outgrown bottles and are too young to manage a full-size cup on their own. Sippy cups are much like sucking on a baby bottle. When toddlers drink from sippy cups, they immerse the six upper front teeth. If there’s something sweet in the cup, and the child is drinking from it all day, those teeth are literally bathed in sweet stuff all day long, and that includes milk which contains the sugar lactose. Sippy cups should be used only as a transitional step for children, not as a long-term solution, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. It also can teach children long term life long habits of sipping on sugary drinks during the day as adults. “Spill Proof” Sippy cups are not recommended because they cause children to suck, causing the same problems as a pacifier. This causes the swallowing reflex to develop improperly.


  • Don’t allow children to use sippy cups throughout the day. Save them for snacks and mealtimes.
  • Let children drink the occasional sugary beverage only through a straw, with a meal. Sippy cups with flexible rubber straws are fine.

My favorite cups are the Munchkin 360 cups. They are not spill proof but decrease the risk of spills while teaching the child to drink out of a regular cup.


We have a NEW Kitchen!


Kitchen PANO

I wanted to toss in a fun blog post this week about something new and fun around our office! Dr. Davies loves her staff so much that she wanted to update our kitchen for us. She strives to provide us with an environment that makes us feel like we are at home. I’m really excited about our new fridge with an ice maker! She also purchased a ninja blender so we can now make our protein shakes fresh during the day rather than before coming into work. We are lucky to have a boss who cares so much about her staff and their personal happiness and lifelong goals.  We also take our monthly team celebrations seriously around here and needed a better layout in our kitchen to support our passion for celebrating each month. Be sure to stop by and check out or new kitchen and grab a cup of coffee!

Cold Sores


Cold Sores, “Herpes labialis”, is an infection by the herpes simplex virus that affects primarily the lips. The first attack can be accompanied by a fever, sore throat or enlarged lymph nodes, and sores inside of mouth. Cold Sores are also called fever blisters. These blisters can be painful but are generally not serious, unless you have AIDS or a weak immune system. The symptoms are usually most severe the first time you get a cold sore, but after that your body develops antibodies and only about 40% of the U.S. Adult population will continue to get them repeatedly. These infections usually show no symptoms until they appear and typically resolve within two weeks.  There are two types of herpes simplex virus that can cause cold sores: HSV type 1 and HSV type 2. Cold Sores are usually caused by HSV type 1 and can be caught when you come in contact with people who are carrying the virus.

The virus typically spreads easily between people by non-direct sexual contact; such as kissing, sharing drinks, utensils, towels, lip balm, razors or having oral sex. Other things that can trigger out breaks are; eating certain foods, sunlight, psychological stress, fever, colds, allergies, sunburns and menstruation.  Be sure to protect yourself, and other people if infected, by being aware of all the above ways of spreading the Herpes Virus.  You can also decrease risk of spreading infection by trying to avoid touching active outbreak sites and washing hands frequently during outbreak. Additionally, it’s a good idea to change your toothbrush & lip balm after an outbreak.  If you are a parent and get cold sores be sure to try and protect your kids and other children, by being aware and not sharing things with them during an outbreak.

Cold Sores can be treated, but not cured by Docosanol (benenyl alcohol), which is a saturated fatty alcohol.  It inhibits the fusion of the human host cell with the viral envelope of the herpes virus, thus preventing its replication (1). It is safe for external, oral- facial use only and has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for healthy adults. I would encourage you to discuss with your doctor if you are pregnant, as tests have not been conducted on the safety for pregnant women. The duration of a Cold Sore can be shortened if an antiviral, anesthetic, zinc oxide or zinc sulfate cream is applied soon after it starts. One of the most common antiviral medications on the market is acyclovir which you do need a prescription for.

Typical Stages of a Cold Sore:

Stage 1: (Day 1) – Symptoms typically begin with a tingling (itching) of the skin around the infected site. This stage can last for a few days or hours before the actual Cold Sore makes an appearance, but is the best time to start treatment.

Stage 2: (Day 2-3)-This is when you will notice a small, hard, inflamed papule; it may be sensitive to touch and is usually itchy. These fluid filled blisters form on the border of your lip usually, and can also occur on the nose, chin and cheeks.

Stage 3: (Day 4) – This is generally the most painful stage and it’s also the most contagious. At this stage one usually has one big open weeping ulcer and fluid is slowly being discharged from blood vessels and inflamed tissues.

Stage 4: (Day 5-8) – This is when the Cold Sore starts to get a golden/ honey crusted look. The healing process is starting, but you are still contagious and it could still be painful to touch.

Stage 5: (Day 9-14) – This is the healing stage; new skin is forming under the scab as the virus is retreating and becoming latent. As it heals you may have a reddish area that will linger, once all the infected cells are gone it will go away.

I wrote this blog with the winter season fast approaching in mind. Although, you can get cold sores throughout the entire year, when I think winter, I think chapstick and chapped lips. I would encourage those who are susceptible to outbreaks to stock up on toothbrushes, get rid of all your old chapsticks that are in your coat pockets and get new ones. Also, be sure to contact your dental office prior to your visit if experiencing an active outbreak.



Happy Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving!

Our office closes for Thanksgiving on Wednesday November 22, 2017 at 12:00pm and we will re-open on Tuesday November 28, 2017 at 8:00am.

Thanksgiving is a favorite around here at Parker River Dental. Our staff is passionate about food, cooking, and baking. We are always sharing good recipes and restaurants with our patients. For this week’s blog I thought it would be nice to share our Thanksgiving favorites here at Parker River Dental!

Dr. Davies- Loves hosting thanksgiving for her family and getting to enjoy the entire day with the family. Her favorite food is a Corn Bread Sausage Stuffing (recipe below) that she makes.

Brittany- Loves making and eating Cheesy Vegetable Casserole (recipe below), Dr. Davies introduced her to this deliciousness years ago. It’s not the healthiest but its only 1 time a year.

Tracie- Loves having all of her family including her adopted family all together at the dinner table and enjoying the meal and day together. (Usually 40 people) Her absolute favorite though is the day after when she gets together with her mom and sister and they make turkey pies with all the left over’s for everyone that came to thanksgiving.

Valerie- Loves the food, especially her mom’s Kentucky Pecan Pie (recipe below) as well as mash potatoes with gravy.

Christine– Loves dinner with her family and no presents, it’s all about the food. She enjoys that thanksgiving is not a commercial holiday. She also loves her husband John’s Apple Stuffing.

Me- I love starting the day off watching the Macy’s Day Parade. I also enjoy getting dressed up and spending the day with family. A tradition my family has, is before we all eat, we go around the table and say what we are thankful for this year. As for food, I would say my mom’s stuffing and Green Bean Casserole are my favorite followed by pumpkin pie with whip cream.

What is your favorite part of thanksgiving? Share with us!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Corn Bread Sausage Stuffing

Cheesy Vegetable Casserole

Kentucky Pecan Pie: 


The 411 on Wisdom Teeth


What are wisdom teeth? These are your third set of molars located all the way in the back of your mouth. They are the last four teeth to erupt, usually between ages 17 and 25. We recommend having these teeth extracted because they are so far back and usually do not come in normally. There are many reasons to get these teeth extracted, which are as follows:

  • Crowding of your present teeth
  • Mouth is not big enough
  • Can cause changes in your overall occlusion “bite”
  • Cause gum disease
  • Accelerated tooth decay
  • They erupt at the wrong angle and cause decay or root resorption in the molar in front of it
  • Increase risk of infection because you do not have proper access to keep it clean
  • Risk of a cyst around it damaging nerve endings and bone erosion

3 major Signs you may need to have these teeth extracted:

  • Pain– this is the most common. The pain can radiate from your wisdom teeth to other areas of your mouth, as the teeth are trying to push their way in.
  • Swelling– Most noticeable in localized jaw area, but can extend from chin back to under the ear. This occurs due to the tooth shifting within the jaw bone, which disrupts the nerve endings.
  • Swollen or bleeding gums- This can happen in the area of the wisdom tooth when food, plaque or bacteria get trapped around the tooth and you cannot remove it, causing the gum tissue to become inflamed, swollen, and bleed.

As dental professionals, we are always monitoring these areas on X-rays starting at around age 16, sometimes earlier. If we feel that you need to have your wisdom teeth addressed we will give you a referral to an oral surgeon’s office.

The process:

1st Appt: Consult– Meet with Oral Surgeon, take any needed X-rays (usually a panoramic X-ray, refer to my past post about dental X-ray for more detail), discuss any health problems and medications, risk factors of extraction, discuss anesthesia options and any questions you may have.

2nd Appt: Extraction– In and out of the office within a couple of hours depending on the type of anesthesia you choose and then go home and rest for the day. Most people need 1-3 days to recover. As long as you follow the recommended guidelines on what not to do over the next week, you should have no problems.

Usual recommended Do’s & Don’ts


  1.  Use an ice pack on your face to curb swelling or skin color changes
  2.  Use moist heat for a sore jaw
  3.  Eat soft foods; pasta, mash potatoes, Jell-o, pudding, rice, soup, apple sauce
  4.  Drink plenty of fluids (Not through a straw)
  5.  Brush your teeth starting the second day; be sure not to brush against blood clots
  6. Call your Oral Surgeon if; you have a fever or pain or swelling does not improve


  1. Don’t drink through a straw (sucking can loosen blood clots, which is what helps the healing)
  2. Don’t rinse your mouth aggressively
  3. Don’t eat hard, crunchy or sticky food
  4. Don’t smoke – this can slow your healing process or cause dry sockets

3rd Appt: Follow up– usually 1 – 2 weeks after extraction the oral surgeon likes to see you for a follow up to see how areas are healing.

If you have any questions regarding your wisdom teeth please feel free to comment below, discuss with your dentist, or contact us with any further questions or concerns you may have.



Baby Teeth Are Important

baby teeth1

Why Are Baby Teeth Important?

There are many parents out there who question the importance of baby teeth. They figure they are going to fall out, why fight with my kid about brushing, or fill a cavity. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s just the opposite and the best thing you can do for your child is encourage them and make it an important part of their daily routine. Taking good care of baby teeth starts when they are 1st born, wiping the gums after breast or bottle feedings with a damp cloth and continuing with a toothbrush once there 1st tooth pops out. These mini chompers are just as crucial to your child’s health as adult teeth are.  These baby teeth start to erupt around 6 months to 1 year, usually in the front 1st, by age 3 they should have a full set of 20 baby teeth. These teeth are referred to as “nature’s braces”; they hold the space in the jaws for permanent teeth. If baby teeth are lost too early due to decay or trauma, it can cause permanent teeth to drift into an open space. This would make it more difficult for adult teeth to have enough space to erupt, leading to crowding and, or crooked teeth.

Other extremely important reasons include:

  • Good nutrition, allowing for good chewing
  • Speech
  • Self- Esteem, smiling
  • Allows a child to concentrate in school and not be distracted by a toothache
  • You’re teaching your child good life long habits to provide them with a good dental future

How can you protect your child’s baby teeth? Simple, follow these few guidelines below:

  • Proper daily homecare: Brushing their teeth 2x daily for 2 minutes, floss daily and use fluoride toothpaste and rinse once your child can spit out properly. * parents should continue to help until child is about 7 years old. (Refer to my blog about Healthy Mouth for your baby and toddler and brushing tips.)
  • Consider their eating and drinking habits and how often they are exposing their teeth to different sugars (good or bad).
  • Bring them to their dentist for routine visits every 6 months – starting no later than age 3
  • Follow recommended treatment and evaluation options; including X-rays, dental sealants, restorative needs and orthodontic treatment.