The craze for natural products has, in the recent years, taken the world by storm. Many personal care products such as face masks, soap, toothpastes, and tooth whitening products have found their way into the market, and consumers are increasingly falling for them. Among the many products is charcoal toothpaste.
The obsession with whiter teeth for a brighter smile has made many people develop a particular affinity to charcoal dental care products, even though the American Dental Association has not approved them due to safety concerns. Our clinic encourages our patients to wait for the approval of these products by the ADA and FDA.
It is worth noting that charcoal products have been in use since the ancient days, when they were recommended to treat bad breath and black gums in ancient Greece. It is, therefore, accurate that charcoal can be used to clean teeth. However, there is no scientific evidence that links charcoal products to fresh breath or even whiter teeth.
Activated charcoal is a form of carbon that has been specially treated to make the surfaces of its particles porous. It acts as a magnet to other particles such as dirt and oil and absorbs them. Charcoal binds everything on its way; thus, the absorbed particles are washed away together with the charcoal during cleaning. The charcoal only scrubs the teeth’ surface and removes dirt, but stains cannot be cleaned out; hence, charcoal toothpaste cannot whiten teeth.
There is a difference between removing extrinsic stains and whitening. Surface stains are easy to remove with natural toothpaste, but intrinsic stains from within the tooth can only be removed with bleaching treatments that penetrate below the surface. The best option in whitening teeth is the use of in-office whitening treatments.
Charcoal is excellent in absorbing toxins. However, its highly abrasive nature can break the teeth surface, making them more prone to staining. While absorbing the toxins, charcoal could also absorb useful substances in the mouth, making the teeth vulnerable to cavities and tooth decay.
Studies show that tooth surfaces become rougher after prolonged use of charcoal toothpaste compared to natural toothpaste, leading to erosion of the enamel. Eroded enamel exposes teeth to tooth decay.
A review in the British Dental Journal of 2019 shows that many charcoal types of toothpaste do not contain fluoride, which dentists recommend to prevent tooth decay. Hence, whiter teeth may become a fallacy if the teeth are exposed to charcoal toothpaste’s long-term effects.
Charcoal provides little or no protection against tooth decay, and there is little or no scientific evidence to support the claims of the benefits. When used often, charcoal particles can get into tooth fillings. The particles can also get caught up in the gums and can cause inflammation.
Proponents of charcoal argue the toothpaste is not entirely bad for your teeth since the active ingredients do not come into contact with the teeth long enough to cause damage. They recommend brushing gently to avoid eroding the enamel, and the use of the toothpaste to supplement the regular toothpaste to enjoy cleaner teeth. It can be used at least once every week.
To experience that bright smile and longer-lasting white teeth, take time to consult with our professional tooth care experts here at Midway Family Dentistry!