Dentists: Is Nano Silver the New Amalgam?

Is Nano Silver the New Amalgam?

Silver toothpasteLast week we started talking about silver nanoparticles, which are showing up in all sorts of consumer products these days because of their antibacterial properties. But there’s still a lot we don’t know about this emerging nanotechnology.

What do silver nanoparticles have to do with dentistry?

Over-the-counter dental products are getting in on the silver ion craze. You can buy nano silver toothpaste and nano silver toothbrushes.

Most of these products seem to be manufactured in South Korea. International import laws aren’t entirely clear, but one Russian website says, “We can export our Nano Silver Toothpaste to Chile, Algeria, Monaco, Latvia, Morocco, South Africa, and Armenia.”

While you can’t yet pick up nano silver toothpaste in major US grocery chains, you can find all this stuff online from sellers who will happily ship to US addresses. (I’ve also seen some of these products for sale in San Francisco’s Japantown.)

It is nearly impossible to find information about these consumer products except what the manufacturers have to say. But the data they offer isn’t particularly informative… Here are some dental products containing nano silver, and how their manufacturers describe the products. (Note: all content [sic].)

Magic Silver Plus Nano-silver ToothpasteMagic Silver Plus Nano-silver Toothpaste
Summitek Inc. (South Korea)
“Magic silver toothpaste remarkably enables to whiten teeth, have strong teeth and clear oral cavity, and prevent from tooth-decay and bad odor. Especially, this functional silver toothpaste, eliminates tooth plaque and prevents disease.” (more info /how to buy)
Nanover nano silver toothpasteNanover Nano-silver Toothpaste
GNS Nanogist (South Korea)
“Nano silver prevents gum inflammation, periodontitis, periodontal disease in sterilizing and disinfecting the bacilli that is a major cause for all gum disease by pure silver of purity 99.9% included in the toothpaste, which is known as excellent nature antibiotics against each pathogenic organ such as virus, bacilli and colitis germs. Protects your teeth from tartar build-up, fights cavities, freshens breath, and whitens teeth by gently removing surface stains by double effect of propolis and protein silver. Protein silver is a natural antibiotic sterilizer which has excellent immunity and sterilizing power. Xylitol does an important part which strengthens prevention against decay of teeth. Chitosan is a very important raw material which hardly has an immune reaction.” (more info / how to buy)
Oragan Nano Silver ToothpasteOragan Nano Silver Toothpaste
LK Trading Co. (South Korea)
“New concept functional toothpaste containing pure silver of transparent component without pigments, displays an excellent efficiency in getting rid of plaque, tooth-decay, odor, and whitening teeth.” (more info)
NANO-SIL silver nano toothpasteNANO-SIL Toothpaste
Nano Plasma Center Co., Ltd (South Korea)
“Brightens & Whitens teeth without peroxide while preventing cavities and plaque formation. Keeps clean and fresh oral hygiene. Removes halitosis. Protects against dental cavities.
Protect against absorption of the pollutants such as nicotine plaque. A catalyst consolidation which is the BIO. Makes the living body rhythm good. The silver no has strong sterilization facility and antibacterial effect.”  (how to buy)
Ace Silver PlusAg+ Toothpaste
Ace Silver Plus (South Korea)
“Silver products such as toothpaste, soap, toothbrush. All made from Colloidal Silver called Nature Antibiotic, which is powerful, universal prophylactic and antibiotic, save, non-toxic, non-accumulative substance and can kills over 650 different pathogens. Based on benefit of silver property, our Nano Silver Products are certified in conformity with FDA Approval (USA), CE and ISO and best products dealing with wide popularity on home-shopping, Cable TV, Internet Shopping Mall and Network Company. These Nano Silver Products are widely exporting to USA, Japan, Europe, Middle East Asia, and talking with Southeast Asia as well.” (more info)
Mouth Watchers Nano-Silver ToothbrushMouth Watchers Nano-Silver Toothbrush
Mouth Watchers (UK & USA)
“Enjoy healthier teeth, gums and general health with our antibacterial nano-silver toothbrush. Our innovative nano-silver bristles reduce bacteria on the toothbrush by 99.9% within 6 hours to help your teeth and gums stay healthier. The pure silver that is impregnated into the bristles of the Mouth Watchers toothbrush gives the bristles a natural color.” (product info)
Nano gold anti bacterial ToothbrushNano Gold Anti Bacterial Toothbrush
Clean Up (South Korea)
“Our company uses only edible gold that is purely 99.9% gold composition for the product with no harm to the human duct of the integrity of our company and the audience-proof with a big-time product within the company… In comparison with the other toothbrush, our toothbrush’s sterilizing power/antiseptic is better than any other toothbrush due to the aura of the negative ion/anion.” (how to buy)

Next week we’ll take a look at the science and laws behind nanotech products — particularly consumer products containing silver.

What do you think about these dental products?

Nanotechnology in Dentistry Could Save Us… Or Could Kill Us

Nanotechnology in DentistryWe’ve been talking recently about silver nanoparticles and if nanosilver will be the new amalgam. This week, we’ll try to piece together some of the scientific evidence about nanotechnology.

Nanomaterials have been defined by the EPA as “particles that have been intentionally produced to have at least one dimension that measures between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers.” That’s pretty tiny, given that there are one billion nanometers in one meter.

Why Newly-Discovered Ingredients Do Not Always Belong in Toothpaste

People tend to get enthusiastic about new technologies, but sometimes being an early adopter isn’t a good idea.

Case in point: Doramad toothpaste, manufactured in Germany between 1940-45. The toothpaste contained radioactive thorium.
Doramad radioactive toothpaste
“Its radioactive radiation increases the defenses of teeth and gums,” read the package. “The cells are loaded with new life energy, the bacteria are hindered in their destroying effect. This explains the excellent prophylaxis and healing process with gingival diseases.” (source)

Doramad is not the only radioactive toothpaste to have been manufactured, but the story behind this World War II toothpaste is particularly interesting, involving resourceful German scientists looking for other applications for their atomic research.

The Safety of Nanomaterials

Nanoparticles behave quite differently from their regular-sized counterparts. Their comparatively large surface area increases their biological activity. Moreover, the particles themselves are much smaller than cells. Nanoparticles can be absorbed through the skin, eyes or nose. They can even cross the blood-brain barrier.

For example, although titanium dioxide is biologically inert, nano-titanium dioxide particles have been shown to damage DNA. Nano-titanium dioxide is estimated to be in over 10,000 consumer products today, including cosmetics, medicines and toothpaste.

Another major nanotech invention, carbon nanotubes have amazing strength. Unfortunately, they can also cause more lung damage than asbestos.

Nanomaterials are also ending up in our food. A thin nano coating can extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. Nano ingredients can make cake mixes pour more easily. Food scientists say that nanomaterials can enhance flavor, preserve freshness, or even protect the safety of our food supply.

But foods containing nano ingredients aren’t labeled as such, and the FDA isn’t regulating them.

A number of studies have indicated possible negative health effects from nanomaterials, but the scientific evidence is not yet clear. The FDA, for its part, is concerned about things that have been proven to be dangerous, but is more lax when it comes to things that have not yet proven either safe or dangerous.

Nano-Gold Face Cream

It’s not even clear if nano-gold has useful properties, but that hasn’t stopped the marketing folks from cashing in on it.

For the bargain price of only $420, you can get half an ounce of Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Cream.
Doramad radioactive toothpaste

This face cream costs only slightly less than actual gold.

Buy it: Barneys New York

Regulating Nano Products

When it comes to consumer products, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the EPA are in charge. And while the EPA is not quite as laissez-faire as the FDA, their stance on nanotechnology isn’t clear either.

In 2008, the EPA fined a California company a whopping $200,000 for selling keyboards and mouses with a nanosilver coating. According to the EPA, these products should have been registered under federal pesticide law. Notably, the EPA has not issued any such fines since then. (Read more: Science Daily)

What’s the Deal with Nanosilver?

Silver is a known environmental hazard. (In fact, environmental problems were observed when silver was commonly used to develop photos.) Only mercury can be more toxic to aquatic life. And nanosilver is more biologically active than normal silver.

And now we have unregulated nanosilver in hundreds of consumer products, including toothpaste.

Read more from AOL: The Nanotech Gamble

What are your thoughts?

I’m curious as to what you all think about this. Will nanotech and nanosilver be the next dental amalgam?

Dentist Nanosilver Recommendations Are Hard To Come By

Only 6% of dentists would recommend nanosilver toothpasteOnly 6% of dentists said they would recommend nanosilver toothpaste to a patient, this survey found. On the other hand, 26% would recommend against it, and fully two out of three (69%) said they don’t know enough about it to make a recommendation.

“There is not enough scientific evidence that it is more efficacious than other more proven products,” said one dentist, “and there’s some disturbing evidence that it might do harm.”

“As my professional duty to every individual I serve, I could not recommend nanoproducts without evidence-based guidelines for them,” said another. “My first duty to the person who is my patient is to do no harm.”

Read the full results from this survey: Dentists Reluctant To Recommend Nanosilver Toothpaste

In addition, you may be interested in additional articles from The Wealthy Dentist on silver nanotechnology:


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