Charcoal Toothpastes Doing More Harm than Good?

Trending now: Charcoal toothpaste! In the past few years, you may have seen celebrities, advertisements, and Youtube videos along with other social media posts raving about using charcoal to brighten teeth. But, these notions may just be a marketing act. In fact, contrary to the advertisements, charcoal toothpastes may not be the solution for obtaining pearly whites and can also add potential risks to your oral health.

Besides just showing up in foods, beauty products, or in art pencils, toothpastes can be made with the ingredient charcoal too. As it turns out, the history of charcoal for tooth cleaning dates way back to Ancient Greek history! Activated charcoal is made by heating regular charcoal with a special gas, making it more porous. As a result, it can absorb toxins and be used medically to treat accidental poisonings. In addition, past research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) claimed its ability for whitening, combating bad breath, and having anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. However, the researchers stated that more evidence is needed to ensure the safety and effectiveness of charcoal toothpastes. It is also necessary to consult with a Doctor before using charcoal toothpaste because it may interfere with certain medications being consumed.

According to a review in the British Dental Journal published in May 2019,  activated charcoal may actually contribute to tooth decay and staining rather than preventing it. Based off knowledge presented in a 2017 literature review, researchers found that there is not enough evidence support the safety or efficacy of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, or anti-viral properties, or tooth whitening claims. Further, most of the marketed charcoal toothpastes do not contain fluoride like other regular toothpastes. Toothpastes containing fluoride help remineralize teeth making tooth enamel stronger, and help prevent tooth decay. Activated charcoal’s absorptive properties could even be inactivating your fluoride intake from other sources. Most importantly, it is also highly abrasive, which despite removing stains could damage the gums and wear down tooth enamel during the process. This can lead to greater risk of developing tooth decay and tooth sensitivity. Another thing to consider is that charcoal toothpaste does not contain the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.

Overall, toothpastes containing fluoride are the best option for keeping a healthy smile. It is best to consult a dentist about whitening products and services to ensure the safety and optimal treatment for your smile. 

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. DerekDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Stephens would be more than willing to help.


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