Charcoal toothpaste (also called black toothpaste) has been marketed as a healthy, natural way to whiten your teeth—but does it really make good on that promise?
Activated charcoal, which is one of the main ingredients in this kind of toothpaste, has long been used to bind toxins; in fact, that’s one of the ideas behind putting it in toothpaste—binding and pulling bacteria, tartar, and stains from your teeth. Charcoal dental care isn’t a new idea; Hippocrates of Ancient Greece believed it was an ideal treatment for black gums and bad breath, and it was advertised as a way to freshen your breath and remove tobacco stains in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Natural Isn’t Always Better
The first thing to know about whitening toothpaste is none of them actually whiten your teeth; all they do is remove stains. The second (and more important) thing to know about charcoal toothpaste is that it’s highly abrasive, so even if it does absorb harmful compounds on your teeth, it’s also scraping away at the surface of your teeth every time you brush. One study found that tooth surfaces became significantly rougher after only a month of using charcoal toothpaste compared to regular toothpaste.
If roughened tooth surfaces sound like bad news to you, you’re right! The roughened texture means enamel loss. Once enamel is gone, it can’t be replaced—even worse, it makes your teeth much more vulnerable to decay. Also, most brands of charcoal toothpaste don’t contain fluoride, which is essential for preventing cavities. Not to mention, charcoal dental products aren’t backed by the American Dental Association or the FDA.
Although charcoal toothpaste can help get rid of surface stains, it’s probably best to avoid it altogether.
For a Whiter Smile, Turn to the Experts
The most effective way to get a brighter, whiter smile is with professional teeth whitening at Enamel Dentistry. We use custom trays that protect your gums from sensitivity and harsh bleaching agents, and we can whiten your teeth by up to 5-10 shades in a single office visit. To learn more, contact Enamel Dentistry or talk to your dentist at your next appointment.