If you go to a holistic dentist you may have heard them recommend using ozone for the treatment of various dental conditions. I’ve seen it recommended for almost every scenario in dentistry including reversing cavities, treating gum disease, whitening teeth, disinfecting root canals, and treating sensitive teeth. Now anytime someone says they’ve got a product that cures everything, I get a little nervous. Most things that sound too good usually are. Let’s take a look at the evidence out there to see if it is worth doing.
Ozone gas is known to kill microorganisms very effectively. It is claimed that if you flow this gas on teeth or put it in place in an oil or water suspension you’ll get excellent disinfection results.
I usually start with the Cochrane Collaboration on topics like this. Here is the conclusion they came to after studying all the available evidence…
“There is no reliable evidence that application of ozone gas to the surface of decayed teeth stops or reverses the decay process. There is a fundamental need for more evidence of appropriate rigour and quality before the use of ozone can be accepted into mainstream primary dental care…”
Researchers have also tested ozone therapy on patients with diabetic foot ulcers to see if it speeds healing. As with dental ozone therapy, there just isn’t a whole lot of good quality research out there. They couldn’t say if it was effective in this situation either.
I did a pretty extensive search for other topics related to ozone use in dentistry. I couldn’t find any other positive research except from the same group that initially developed this procedure. I worked in a research lab for a while before I was a dentist and I saw firsthand how researchers like to “spin” their research to come to a specific conclusion. I personally like to see independent research on a topic before believing it.
It’s important to note on these reviews that they didn’t say that ozone definitely doesn’t work. They just said that there is no evidence proving that it does work. I’ll keep an open mind until such time as research proves or disproves it’s effectiveness.
Some other questions to consider with ozone…
- Ozone is provided as a gas most times. Gases don’t stay in place and are quickly diluted. How would it disinfect your tooth if it doesn’t stay in place long enough?
- How do you get enough ozone gas down below the gumline to treat gum disease?
Ozone may have some effect but current research doesn’t provide us with any evidence that it is effective. I personally wouldn’t bet the health of my teeth or the rest of my mouth on something that may or may not be helpful. There are a lot of other standard treatments that are known to be effective and I’d stick with those. Some of these treatments have risks associated with them. No doubt. But we do know that they work. Unless better research comes out proving the efficacy of ozone, I’d avoid it.