This section is from the book "Dental Medicine. A Manual Of Dental Materia Medica And Therapeutics", by Ferdinand J. S. Gorgas. Also available from Amazon: Dental Medicine.
Wood Charcoal is obtained by subjecting soft wood to a red heat with but a limited supply of air, by which the water, etc., are removed, allowing the carbon to remain.
Wood charcoal is antiseptic and disinfectant and detergent, and is very serviceable in correcting the fetor of discharges and arresting the process of ulceration, especially when in the form of the dry powder, or mixed with linseed as a poultice.
For foul and gangrenous ulcers, gangrene, phagedaena, suppurating surfaces, cancerous tumors, etc., etc.
The powdered charcoal added to water, in the proportion of one or two drachms to a glass of water, forms an efficient disinfectant gargle for the offensive fetor of mercurial stomatitis; also useful in foul and gangrenous ulcers of the mouth, diseased gums, offensive ulcerations, offensive fetor of cancrum oris, etc., etc. Notwithstanding its detergent properties, injury results from its use as a dentifrice, on account of its tendency to cause recession of the gums from the necks of the teeth.