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Charcoal Toothpaste is all the rage for teeth whitening. Activated charcoal is also found in other popular items like supplement pills and cosmetic face masks. It is believed that activated charcoal toothpaste can be used for teeth whitening as well as giving you fresher breath. Does activated charcoal toothpaste actually make your teeth whiter or give you fresher breath over traditional toothpastes.

What Is Activated Charcoal Toothpaste?

Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, olive pits or sawdust. The charcoal is then “activated” by putting it under very high temperatures. These high temperatures change the charcoal’s internal chemical structure by decreasing the size of its pores and increasing its surface area. Once the charcoal undergoes this change it is now more porous than regular charcoal. This activated charcoal does not contain any toxic substances that are present in charcoal briquettes used in BBQ’s. Activated charcoal is commonly used in water filters. The porosity of activated charcoal allows it to bind to everything that comes its way. This can include stains, bacteria, tartar and plaque, as well as viruses. Activated charcoal is also commonly used in patients suffering from a drug overdose or poisoning.

Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Marielaina Perrone DDSActivated Charcoal Toothpaste….Is It Safe?

This is a controversial topic but there has been no long term research to date to prove that activated charcoal toothpaste is safe. What we do know is the following:

Activated charcoal toothpaste should not be used daily. The activated charcoal toothpaste is quite abrasive and can damage your tooth’s enamel. Wearing down your enamel can thin the outer layer out making your teeth appear yellower due to underlying dentin showing through. This tooth enamel erosion can also increase tooth sensitivity significantly. If you do choose to use an activated charcoal toothpaste it is recommended not to be used daily and to use a soft touch when brushing.

Lack Of Fluoride In Activated Charcoal Toothpastes. Most activated charcoal toothpastes do not contain fluoride. Fluoride is essential in keeping our teeth strong to defend against tooth decay. The British Dental Journal found that activated charcoal toothpaste may actually increase tooth decay. But this evidence needs to be researched further. Activated charcoal toothpastes can be used in conjunction with a regular toothpaste for people who are seeking a whiter smile, but it cannot be used in place of it.

Increased Staining. For obvious reasons, introducing a fine black powder can leave stains especially in teeth with fine micro cracks. This can also occur on dental restorations like white composite fillings, porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns.

Does Activated Charcoal Toothpaste Make Teeth Whiter?

Toothpaste that contains activated charcoal may help to remove teeth staining due to the activated charcoal’s abrasiveness. The activated charcoal also has the ability to absorb surface staining through its porous nature. To date there has been no evidence that it has a natural teeth whitening effect. Current teeth whitening products work by not only removing surface teeth stains (also called extrinsic stains) on the surface of teeth but also those below the surface (also called intrinsic stains). There just is not enough scientific evidence to prove that activated charcoal toothpastes are effective in whitening your teeth. No matter how dedicated you are to using activated charcoal toothpaste for teeth whitening, a major lightening of tooth color can only come from teeth whitening treatments that have the ability to penetrate below the external surface of our teeth. Therefore, the only recommendation that can be given right now is to use activated charcoal toothpaste to remove surface staining.

Alternatives To Activated Charcoal Toothpaste For Teeth Whitening

Your teeth whitening alternative options include:

American Dental Association (ADA) approved teeth whitening toothpastes

-American Dental Association (ADA) approved teeth whitening stripsCharcoal Toothpaste Las Vegas Marielaina Perrone DDS

-In office teeth whitening

-Dentist supervised at home teeth whitening

Charcoal Toothpaste For Teeth Whitening Conclusion

Charcoal toothpaste is safe for use as a teeth whitener. It is not to be used daily and as long as you need to understand charcoal toothpaste has definite limitations when it comes to teeth whitening. At this time, activated charcoal toothpaste is not the answer if you are looking for significantly whiter teeth. Your dentist can offer you better options. As always see your dentist regularly for a healthy, happy smile.



As the new year begins many of us are trying to choose healthier options. This includes attempting to make smarter choices in our choice of drink. A choice for many is to forego sugary sodas and choose carbonated water. The thought is we will choose a lower calorie drink that is also less harmful to our oral health. But is sparkling water safer for our teeth and gums?

What Is Sparkling Water?

Sparkling water is made by dissolving carbon dioxide in water, creating carbonic acid. This  chemical process just adds bubbles. It does not add sugar, calories, or even caffeine. Tonic water, club soda, and mineral water are all types of readily available carbonated water, but these have added sodium, vitamins, or sweeteners, so it’s important to read the label.

Is Sparkling Water Harmful To Our Teeth?

Yes, sparkling water can harm your teeth. While sparkling water is only slightly more acidic than regular tap water it has the power to do damage to our teeth’s enamel through a process called tooth erosion (wearing away of the outer layer of our teeth due to acids). Some of the causes of tooth enamel erosion include:

-Consuming excessive amounts of sodas (high levels of phosphoric and citric acids)

-Fruit drinks (some acids in fruit drinks are more erosive than battery acid)

-Dry mouth or low salivary flow (xerostomia)

-Diet (high in sugar and starches)

-Acid reflux disease (also called GERD)

-Gastrointestinal problems

Medications (for example aspirin and antihistamines)

-Genetics

-Environmental factors (friction, wear and tear, and stress)

Research has shown that sparkling water has a pH (measure of aciditiy) of approximately 3 (with 5 being neutral). The researchers used extracted teeth and placed them in glasses filled with various types of sparkling waters. What they found was quite surprising. Sparkling water does in fact have the acidity to erode tooth enamel. In fact, the researchers found that the sparkling water compared to orange juice in terms of its erosive effect.

Sparkling Water Conclusion

While the research showed that the sparkling waters can erode tooth enamel, it is important to note that if used in moderation it is a perfectly healthy alternative to sodas and energy drinks. Remember to practice good oral hygiene after using these drinks and you should have little to worry about in terms of your dental health.



Most people do not consider the simple straw to have any bearing on their dental health but it can. Drinking certain beverages regularly can have a harmful effect on our teeth. These drinks include high acid beverages, sugary soft drinks, and coffee. The sugars and acid nature of these drinks can wreak havoc on your teeth damaging them permanently.

So How Does A Straw Help Protect Your Teeth?

The straw is a simple tool but it allows these drinks to bypass right past your teeth and limit the time your teeth are exposed to these harmful drinks. Below you will find the top ways a straw can help with your dental health.

Tooth Decay Prevention. Sipping from a glass causes your beverage to wash over your teeth. The pooling of the liquid in the mouth keeps the teeth in harms way for an extended period of time. Using a straw allows you to drink without having much contact with your teeth. Limiting exposure can decrease your chances of tooth decay from developing over time.

Keep Your Pearly Whites Their Whitest. Dark beverages like colas and red wine cause your teeth to absorb stains and change color over time. Once stained they become progressively darker. Using a straw allows the staining material to bypass your teeth and  limit contact to the staining agents. The only way to remove these stains properly is through the use of professional cleanings and teeth whitening.

Tooth Enamel Erosion. Acidic drinks (like soft drinks, high citrus drinks, and energy drinks) can have a damaging effect on the out layers of our teeth. The saliva will attempt to neutralize these acids but over time your enamel will wear and thin allowing them to become permanently sensitive. Drinking with a straw can once again limit the damage from these acids and help keep your enamel intact and strong.

Sensitive Teeth. Having teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold can be a real challenge for many. Using a straw can help alleviate those symptoms and make drinking your favorite beverages easier and more enjoyable.

Conclusion

Using a straw is not always the preferred or convenient choice when enjoying our favorite drink. However, making that small change can save you money and discomfort down the road. There are many types, sizes, and colors of straws. You may find that they are actually fun to use!  A little change can go a long way towards maintaining your dental health.



For many people, eating disorders are part of every day life. These  abnormal eating habits may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual’s physical and psychological health. The resulting effects of the dietary issues involved directly and indirectly relate to oral health problems.

Common Types Of Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa (commonly called,  “anorexia”) –  This eating disorder is characterized by a refusal to maintain a healthy body weight, an obsessive fear of weight gain, and an unrealistic perception of current body weight. Anorexia can cause menstruation to stop, and often leads to bone loss, loss of skin integrity. It is a big stressor on the heart, there is an increase in the risk of heart attacks and related heart problems. This disorder also presents with an increased risk of death. Peer pressures play a role in an individuals’ obsession with their outer appearances. Recent research suggests it is not only about a person’s outward perception but genetics may play a role in the disease process.

Bulimia Nervosa (commonly called, “bulimia”) – This eating disorder is characterized by recurrent binge eating followed by purging. The purging can include self induced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives/diuretics, or excessive exercise. Fasting may also be used as a method of purging (self inflicted vomiting) following a binge.

Compulsive over-eating– This eating disorder is characterized by eating large quantities of food even when not feeling hunger. The food is generally consumed quickly and often with little to no regard for proper nutrition.

Dental Issues That Arise From An Eating Disorder

Tooth Enamel Erosion and Tooth Decay – It is quite common to see an increased incidence of tooth decay in all forms of eating disorder. It is also not unusual to see very extensive decay that leads to tooth loss. For bulimic and over-eaters, high calorie, high carbohydrate foods put the enamel at risk due to increased sugar levels in the mouth. Vomiting (either self inflicted or from eating an enormous amount of food) exacerbates the problem by incorporating stomach acid into the oral environment. Anorexics are also prone to regurgitation of stomach acid due to lack of food in the stomach.

It is quite common in patients with an eating disorder to need extensive dental work over and over again. This is especially true to the backs of the teeth, (facing the tongue) since these surfaces would be exposed the most to the stomach acids released from vomiting. The gum lines of teeth are also prone to decay when habits of snacking through the night and not brushing occur frequently.

Soft Tissue Damage – The force of repeated vomiting also takes a toll on the soft tissues in the mouth. This can result in swelling of the tonsils and the uvula in the back of the throat. Another indicator of an eating disorder may be a red and swollen tongue or a lacerated palate caused by vomiting induced by placing a finger into the back of your throat (fingernails and other implements will damage the palate).

Other Eating Disorder Dental Issues Include:

-Gum pain

-Chronic sore throat

-Inflamed esophagus

-Palatal hemorrhages

-Decreased saliva production – leading to dry mouth (xerostomia)

-Enlarged Parotid glands

-Problems swallowing

-Jaw alignment abnormalities

Dental Treatment Options

An eating disorder is a major health issue and create all kinds of problems both to our dental health and systemic health. Communication is important to not only get help to overcome the disease but also to get proper dental treatment.

Dental hygiene becomes extra important in patients with an eating disorder because some of the damage from stomach acids in the mouth can be minimized if patients brush, floss, and rinse following vomiting. This can lessen the effect of the acids on the teeth. Damage will still be done if the habits remain for long or short periods of time.

Standard dental treatment for an eating disorder can include:

-Dental Fillings

Root Canal Therapy

-Tooth Extractions

-Periodontal Surgery

Eating Disorder Conclusion

An eating disorder is a very difficult disease to diagnose and treat. Dentists need to know the warning signs to be able to get patients in need to seek proper help. Eating disorders can ultimately kill and should not be taken lightly. The dentist should be able to speak openly about oral symptoms of eating disorders if signs are present. This is a difficult topic to discuss for most but is nevertheless important. The patient must feel comfortable enough with their dentist to tell them they think they have an eating disorder. The dentist should  be clear about everything, portray empathy and care at every opportunity. Body language is very important. Trust between the dentist and patient is very important to establish before moving on.

Once habits are addressed, treatment and restoration of healthy teeth and smile go hand in hand.. The power of a beautiful, healthy smile can do wonders do our emotional well being. A positive self-image and self-esteem are critical for recovery from bulimia and a restored, healthy smile is evidence of those feelings. Does having a new smile help that process? Absolutely. It has been shown time and again to be life changing. Even more important is restoration of the teeth to a healthy state so that the patient can eat without pain and regain health.