Charcoal toothpaste is often marketed on the internet as an effective way to whiten teeth and improve oral hygiene. Here’s what you should know about these unproven claims.
What Is Charcoal Toothpaste?
An essential tool in the healthcare industry, activated charcoal is a porous substance that naturally absorbs impurities. Traditionally, poison control centers and hospitals have used charcoal to treat drug overdoses and accidental poisonings. In essence, the charcoal is able to draw in and trap toxic substances within the gut and keep them from entering the bloodstream. The substances are then eliminated along with the charcoal during the patient’s next bowel movement.
Recently, superfine charcoal powder has made its way to the beauty and health markets, appearing as a key ingredient in face masks and detoxifying regimens. Activated charcoal is also being added to toothpaste, which has been marketed as a way to brighten smiles and eliminate oral toxins.
Is it Safe and Effective?
According to research appearing in The Journal of the American Dental Association, there is not enough laboratory and clinical data to prove that charcoal toothpaste is effective or safe. A spokesperson for the ADA also warns that the toothpaste could damage gums and enamel, due to its abrasive characteristics.
Given these uncertainties and the fact that charcoal toothpaste does not provide fluoride, the ADA states that there are plenty of other better toothpaste options available that are proven to be safe and effective.
How to Safely Whiten Your Teeth
If you would like to whiten your smile, it’s safer to choose a toothpaste that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which shows the product is safe and effective for the purpose claimed. You can also pay a visit to your local dentist to learn about modern whitening treatments that use bleaching materials, heat and/or light to lighten teeth by up to eight shades.
If you are dead set on trying to whiten your teeth at home, you can use over-the-counter bleaching trays or whitening strips. While not as powerful as professional treatments, these products can brighten discolored teeth at least somewhat, depending on the person.