Charcoal is a unique substance that has recently gained in popularity in the health industry.
Charcoal is in a multitude of products such as face masks, lotions, cosmetics, soaps, and even toothpaste.
“Activated” charcoal consists of a mixture of fine powder coconut shells, peat, sawdust, bone char, olive pits, bone char or petroleum coke. It is made at very high temperatures which transform its structure to expand the surface area by reducing the size of and increasing the number of tiny pores in the material (which act as magnets that draw in and absorb impurities).
Many health benefits have been attributed to activated charcoal over the centuries. For instance, this substance was used to treat drug poisoning back in the 1800s.
Products with charcoal in them have several health benefits such as being used as an effective treatment for acne, keeping kidneys in working condition, and keeping cholesterol levels in check. That being said, users of activated charcoal products will see varying effects based on the person and the type of product being used.
Looking online, you might have stumbled upon an image of a model with a very white smile promoting a brand of charcoal toothpaste. Observing them putting the black substance on their pearly whites can be off-putting, though once the toothpaste is washed away, the teeth appear whiter than before. Are these results the real deal, or is this false advertising?
The fact is, charcoal toothpaste has not been proven to be a healthy or safe way to whiten your teeth at home. In reality, it has been shown to inflict more damage on your teeth than other at-home whitening products. Also, charcoal toothpaste hasn’t been appointed the Seal of Acceptance from the ADA. According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, there’s “insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy claims of charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices.”
So, what is so bad about charcoal toothpaste? Due to its rough nature, charcoal-based toothpaste erodes the tooth enamel. This can lead to a higher chance of cavities and increased tooth sensitivity. Tooth enamel doesn’t grow back once it’s gone, which is why it is crucial to avoid using any product that might damage your teeth.
For patients who are still interested in at-home teeth whitening, various other products are effective. Certain peroxide-based whitening products such as Whitestrips, fluoride toothpaste, and in-office whitening sessions work as well.
You can get the most effective whitening options through a dentist like Dr. Sulken and Dr. Kinn. To schedule an appointment for an in-office whitening session, call us today.