Many commercially-available products such as face wash, makeup, and now, even toothpaste advertise activated charcoal as a special ingredient. Toothpaste that includes activate charcoal claims that it naturally whitens teeth. But does it actually work is it just a gimmick that could have negative effects on your health? Hampton Roads, VA dentist Dr. William Harper and the American Dental Association would like to offer some advice for those who are curious about the effectiveness of charcoal toothpaste.
Charcoal is a porous black solid form of carbon that is created by burning wood or other organic material. Charcoal can be referred to as “activated” when it’s burned at an even higher temperature, giving it a sticky quality.
This ability of activated charcoal to cause other substances to stick to it is why it’s commonly used in medicine to help absorb toxins in the stomach. But does activated charcoal work to draw stains out of tooth enamel?
Should I Use Charcoal Toothpaste?
The truth is that the American Dental Association (ADA) has found no evidence that charcoal toothpaste is effective or even safe to use on teeth and gums. In fact, it may even be harmful to your enamel.
Activated charcoal has an abrasive texture, which can damage and even remove your tooth enamel — the hard and shiny outer layer of your tooth.. This layer is what you want to whiten when you use a whitening toothpaste. However, using toothpaste infused with activated charcoal can actually remove enamel and expose a more yellow layer of the tooth beneath the enamel called dentin.
Toothpaste and toothbrushes are supposed to gently clean the surface of the teeth without damaging your enamel. Therefore, you wouldn’t want something abrasive like charcoal scraping against your teeth, removing the enamel that actually protects your teeth from stains.
Alternatives to Natural Whitening
The best method for naturally whitening your teeth is to maintain healthy dental care habits, such as brushing your teeth twice a day with an American Dental Association-approved whitening toothpaste and limiting staining foods like coffee and red wine in your diet. Routine visits with Dr. Harper or your area dentist are also important for keeping your smile healthy and bright.
In-office teeth whitening procedures administered by Dr. Harper or your local dentist can also safely whiten your enamel without damaging it. Most dentists also provide professional strength at-home teeth whitening kits. Less powerful versions of these bleaching products are also available for sale in retail stores with the ADA seal of approval that shows they are safe for teeth.
The most important part of your smile is that it’s healthy so you should never risk that for a gimmick to whiten your teeth quickly. If you’re in the Hampton Roads, VA area and are not sure about which teeth whitening procedure is best for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Harper today by calling 757.414.7227 or request an appointment online.