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Is Colloidal Silver Good for Your Teeth?

By Jenny Smiechowski

July 15, 2021

Benefits of silver in oral care products

Most common oral health issues— like plaque, cavities, and gingivitis—are caused by unhealthy bacteria in your mouth. So ingredients that fight bacteria could help keep your pearly whites in prime condition. Unfortunately, the antibacterials you find in most conventional toothpastes aren’t exactly ideal.

Fluoride is an ingredient you’ll find in almost all traditional toothpaste. It’s mildly antimicrobial and it’s supposed to help prevent cavities. But the research to support its ability to fight cavities is pretty thin. 

According to a 2015 research review, not very many high-quality studies on fluoride and cavities have even been conducted over the past 40 years. The few that have been done found that fluoride doesn’t reduce cavities. Fluoride has also been linked to health issues like developmental problems in children and bone issues in adults.

Triclosan is an ingredient you’ll find in toothpastes marketed as “antibacterial” and it’s definitely effective at killing bacteria. But maybe a little too effective. Just like your gut, your mouth contains good and bad bacteria. And triclosan may kill both. Triclosan has also been linked to antibiotic resistance.

So is there a safe and effective way to keep those cavity-causing critters out of your mouth? We think there’s one shining beacon of hope on the oral health horizon—silver.

How Silver Helps Your Mouth

Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, colloidal silver was a popular tool among doctors and dentists because of its ability to kill bacteria. But then antibiotics came onto the scene and silver took a back seat...until recently. 

Colloidal silver is becoming a popular ingredient again among companies and people who care about safe, natural, and effective oral health. What is colloidal silver, exactly?

Colloidal silver is a mixture of water and tiny silver particles. Today, colloidal silver is commonly called nano silver (although, not everything labeled "colloidal silver" qualifies as nano silver). The silver particles in nano silver are extremely small (less than 100 nanometers), and this makes it safer and more effective than other forms of silver (more on that later).

A 2017 research review on the use of nano silver in dentistry found that it was effective at fending off bacteria within dental pulp (inside of the tooth), oral pathogens linked to cancer, fungal pathogens, and the bacteria that creates oral biofilms (aka plaque).

A 2019 study found that colloidal silver gel was effective against bacterial strains like Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sanguis, and Streptococcus salivarius. These are the strains that are the biggest contributors to plaque formation. In another 2019 study, researchers found that nano silver inhibited oral biofilms (aka plaque) in people between 18 and 40 years old.

A 2015 research review concluded that nano silver's small particle size allows it to penetrate cell membranes more effectively and perform more antimicrobial functions. In other words, it’s able to squeeze into cells and target bacteria better than silver solutions with bigger silver particles.

What does all this mean for your mouth? Well, as we mentioned earlier, anything bad that happens in your mouth starts with bacteria. 

Your mouth is full of bacteria. Some of that bacteria is beneficial and some is harmful. The harmful bacteria feed off sugar and starches. If you eat a diet high in both of those (which a lot of us do), the bad bacteria in your mouth could overtake the good stuff.

In fact, when you eat or drink something sugary or starchy, the bad bacteria in your mouth release acids to break down the sugar and starch. If you don’t brush right after eating, these bacteria and acids create a thin slimy film on your teeth known as plaque.

On its own, plaque causes bad breath and swollen, irritated gums. But if you don’t clear the plaque away often enough, it turns into tartar and causes cavities, gum infections, gingivitis, gum disease, infections, and tooth loss.

Based on all the research we mentioned above, something like silver could be a really amazing thing for your oral health since it could potentially knock out bacteria and plaque in one fell swoop.

Is Silver Safe?

At this point, silver may sound too good to be true. But a simple Google search will quickly open up a can of worms about its safety. 

You see, people don’t just use colloidal silver to get healthy teeth. A lot of people take it internally for a wide variety of conditions. Unfortunately, if you take certain types of silver at very high doses it can cause a condition called argyria, where silver particles build up in the body and cause the skin to turn bluish-gray. 

Agyria sounds alarming. And it can be. But it only occurs in extreme cases where people are consuming very large amounts of silver daily. And it only occurs with certain types of silver. In fact, one of the biggest benefits of nano silver is that it doesn’t accumulate in the body. The unique size and structure of silver nanoparticles allow them to flow through the body freely without combining with other elements, which means they don’t build up in tissues. 

Based on the fact that nano silver provides antimicrobial benefits without accumulating in the body, we think it’s extremely safe, especially when used for oral health (it’s great for skin health too). When you’re using silver for oral health, after all, you’re not swallowing it directly. And even if a little bit does get swallowed it won’t be enough to cause any issues.

Introducing Earthpaste with Nano Silver

We’re strong believers in the oral health benefits of nano silver. That’s why we decided to add it to Earthpaste.

Our newest Earthpaste formula contains the same simple, clean, and real ingredients that made Earthpaste amazing in the first place, plus a dash of nano silver for extra cleansing power.

The type of nano silver we’ve added to Earthpaste is backed by 420 independent, third-party studies, isn’t metabolized by the body, and is easily excreted without any residual buildup.

Each tube of Earthpaste contains 2 parts per million (ppm) of nano silver. That means silver only makes up .0002% of each tube. That’s an extremely safe but still highly effective amount that will make a difference in how clean your teeth feel.

And of course, Earthpaste still contains Redmond Clay, Real Salt, tea tree oil, xylitol, and essential oils that have their own awesome benefits for your mouth. 

 

Sources:

  1. Fluoridation May Not Prevent Cavities, Scientific Review Shows— Newsweek.
  2. Ingredients in Toothpaste, Mouthwash May Be Creating Antibiotic Resistant Germs— Healthline.
  3. Antimicrobial Silver in Medicinal and Consumer Applications: A Patent Review of the Past Decade (2007–2017)— Antibiotics. 
  4. Silver Nanoparticles in Dental Biomaterials— International Journal of Biomaterials.
  5. Silver nanoparticles in dentistry— Dental Materials.
  6. Efficacy of a silver colloidal gel against selected oral bacteria in vitro— F1000 Research.
  7. Antimicrobial and Substantivity Properties of Silver Nanoparticles against Oral Microbiomes Clinically Isolated from Young and Young-Adult Patients— Journal of Nanomaterials. 
  8. Dental Plaque— Cleveland Clinic.
  9. What is argyria?— Medical News Today.