Literally rising from the ashes, charcoal has taken the cosmetic world by storm. Just about any type of cosmetic can now be found with a charcoal-infused option. Used in medical treatments for thousands of years, charcoal is a well-known product. But we aren’t talking about the regular charcoal used on the grill. The charcoal used in these medical treatments is a specially treated type of carbon. The treatment makes the carbon porous, which in turn renders the charcoal extremely absorbent by binding to other particles. Today we are taking a closer look at charcoal toothpaste. What is all the hype about? And does it actually do what all the media posts are saying it does?
Does it whiten teeth?
Firstly, there are different reasons for tooth discoloration. There is surface staining that is caused by the things we put into our mouth, like the food we eat, coffee and alcohol we drink, and even from smoking. Then there is the inner color of our teeth. This can be affected by medications, too much fluoride intake, calcium levels, and more. Initial testing indicates that charcoal toothpaste does have a stain removing effect on surface discoloration. However, if the discoloration lies within the tooth itself, the results will be disappointing. The charcoal cannot penetrate the inside of the tooth, and does not affect this level of discoloration. Teeth that have cracks or fillings are at risk for further discoloration with a charcoal toothpaste. The paste can get into these areas and can be very difficult to remove.
Does it clean well?
The cleaning effects of charcoal toothpaste seems to be on par with that of other regular toothpaste brands. It is generally quite abrasive in its texture and thus gives a solid cleaning. However, the American Dental Association has found that it could be too abrasive. This level of abrasion can damage tooth enamel, leaving the teeth exposed and at a higher risk of cavities. This abrasiveness can also wear down the shine of the enamel, resulting in a duller smile. This wearing down and roughening of the enamel can lead to even easier surface staining.
Is it safe to use?
There are virtually no published scientific studies on the safety of charcoal toothpaste. Cosmetic companies tell us that rigorous testing has been done on their products, but are refusing to share these results with the media. Most dentists are skeptical and advise caution to their patients when trying out the black paste. It is important to note that charcoal for use in a toothpaste formulation has not yet been FDA approved. Generally, these kinds of toothpaste do not contain any fluoride, which is an extremely important ingredient in the dental field. Fluoride helps to keep our tooth enamel strong and cavity-free.
It is safe to say that a lot more testing and research needs to be done on activated charcoal being used in dental care products. Many companies make outrageous claims for their product’s effectiveness, but ultimately, it is up to each individual to do their research and make an educated decision.