Is Charcoal Toothpaste Effective For Teeth Whitening?
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.
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
-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.