Do Charcoal Toothpastes Work?

Do Charcoal Toothpastes Work?
Posted on 07/06/2022
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By now you’ve probably seen multiple brands of charcoal based toothpaste on the market.  They have become popular because of claims to be “all natural” or “eco-friendly”, but do they actually clean and whiten?

First a little background on charcoal. We know that charcoal is used in filtration in such things as water and in items such as facial mask products. The theory is that by adding activated charcoal to toothpaste, the charcoal will “draw out” the surface impurities on teeth as well, resulting in a whitening effect.

Sounds reasonable, right? But, the bad news? To date there are no scientific studies that show these claims to be accurate. In fact, charcoal, like many other pastes meant for whitening, is very abrasive and can result instead in erosion of your tooth enamel. Enamel erosion can lead to:

  • Your teeth appearing more yellow as enamel is stripped away and the dentin underneath is more exposed.
  • Tooth sensitivity

  • Increased risk of cavities since many of the charcoal toothpastes do not contain fluoride, which has been shown to strengthen teeth.

  • Potential staining on crevices or cracks of older teeth

So, how do you choose a toothpaste that is safe AND whitens your teeth? Look for a toothpaste that has been tested and approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Or if you really want to try out the absorbent properties of charcoal, look for an activated charcoal powder and rinse, but don’t brush, with it. Allow the charcoal to contact the teeth as you would a mouthwash and then spit out and rinse. This would potentially have an effect over a long period of repeated use.

Tollgate Orthodontics also offers whitening in both in-office, one-hour non-abrasive methods and in take-home custom whitening trays. Dr. Eves is happy to answer any questions you have on these services.  Just give us a call!