Throughout history, charcoal has been used to mitigate the effects of poison or drug overdoses and used as a wound salve thanks to its ability to grab and absorb impurities. Now “activated” charcoal can be found in shampoos, supplements, facemasks and even toothpaste.
Charcoal toothpaste has been promoted for its teeth whitening and breath-freshening abilities, but is it really as good as it claims to be? While many dentists agree that it’s effective at whitening, they still have concerns that patients who brush exclusively with charcoal toothpastes may be putting their oral health at risk. With all the hype about charcoal toothpastes, are they everything they are cracked up to be?
What Is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal is a naturally porous substance that is used to absorb toxins and is commonly used to treat poisoning and drug overdoses in emergency rooms. Activated charcoal is not the black stuff you scrape off a burnt steak; rather, it’s called “activated” because the charcoal is heated with a gas to increase the size and number of pores that absorb chemicals and other impurities. Similar to the way a charcoal water filter works, the activated charcoal in toothpaste binds with impurities, removes stains and plaque and even freshens your breath.
Concerns of Using Charcoal Toothpaste
While most dentists agree that using a charcoal toothpaste periodically can reduce or eliminate stains on your teeth, and may even be better than whitening toothpastes, they are not effective in protecting your teeth against cavities in the same way that fluoridated toothpaste can. Also, because of its generally abrasive texture, charcoal toothpastes may actually start to wear down enamel if used too much or if you brush too hard. In fact, excessive use of charcoal toothpaste may over time start to turn your teeth yellow if you break down the protective layer of enamel to reveal the natural yellow color of the dentin. Those with receding gums, meaning they may have exposed root, may be extra sensitive to charcoal toothpastes. Know that if you do decide to use charcoal toothpaste, be very sure not to accidentally ingest any. Also, the natural absorbing properties of charcoal can interfere with certain medications.
Remember, tooth enamel can’t be replaced, so dentists do warn that those who may want to use charcoal toothpaste do so judiciously, brushing carefully so as not to degrade the enamel or upset sensitive teeth. Dentists also warn against relying solely on charcoal toothpastes, recommending instead that those who choose to use it do so as a periodic supplement to their regular fluoridated toothpaste.
If you want to trust whitening your teeth to the experts, your dentist can effectively and safely whiten your teeth to a pearly shine. Professional teeth whitening treatments can also give you longer-lasting results that are worry-free.
If you are interested in establishing a good oral hygiene routine or wish to schedule a teeth whitening consultation, contact the caring and expert staff at Dedicated Dental Care, Las Vegas’ most trusted dental team. Don’t you and your family deserve exceptional dental care? For an appointment, call (702) 566-5509 to speak with one of our friendly office staff today!