You must have seen Instagram bloggers making videos and uploading posts about how some toothpaste brands with activated charcoal are making their teeth as white as ever!
While they are raving about how amazing their smiles look…
dentists and dental students in the comment sections won’t stop telling them its bad for their teeth.
But Is Charcoal Toothpaste Bad For Your Teeth?
Or is it all a myth?
Well to be completely honest, as fast as it works at making your teeth super white, it can most definitely damage your enamel.
It’s too abrasive and can do more harm than good.
However, I can’t argue that the teeth whitening properties in it are top-notch and no one can deny that activated charcoal instantly removes stains.
So let’s find a middle ground and learn more about the ever so popular charcoal toothpaste. I am sure you will be able to find all the answers by the end of this article.
The Benefits Of Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is a popular natural ingredient. According to some people it is an antidote for alcohol poisoning, and hence may be a great source to prevent hangovers.
Not just that, activated charcoal is also used in events like accidental or purposeful overdose of drugs such as aspirin, opium and morphine.
Apart from that, it’s a wonderful skin tonic. Whether it’s a mosquito bite or a zit, mix a teaspoon of activated charcoal with Aloe Vera gel and you are good to go!
Some say that it has helped them get rid of gas and bloating as well. They say the charcoal binds with the gas producing components and suppresses the unwanted and uncomfortable feeling of gas roaming around your stomach.
And last but certainly not least, it whitens teeth!
This is by far the most popular benefit of activated charcoal!
With that being said, all these claims are based on experiences and there is still room for more research and studies. Activated charcoal has worked for many people but that does not necessarily mean it will work for everyone.
Can Charcoal Toothpaste Help Whiten Teeth?
We all like to go back to the old days and reminisce, right?
Well since time machines aren’t a reality yet, we thought of reminiscing about the ancient times when activated charcoal was the talk of the town.
In the last 3-5 years we have become more holistic based in our approaches which is the reason why activated charcoal has been brought back as a method of whitening teeth.
A lot of people claim that brushing your teeth with activated charcoal will not only keep your pearly whites intact, it will also help you get rid of bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.
However, have you ever thought if these claims are based on facts or not?
And why do we prefer ancient remedies over modern advancements?
While it can help you get rid of surface stains from your teeth and may even help with bad breath, it most definitely doesn’t prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Activated charcoal does help whiten teeth but it also comes with a lot of baggage.
Is It Safe To Use Charcoal Every Day?
I am not going to ask you to completely boycott activated charcoal or the toothpastes that contain it, but I will most definitely not recommend you use it every day.
After every session of dental cleaning, (usually every 6 months), it’s not a bad idea to brush your teeth with charcoal toothpaste. In fact, it will help prevent staining.
So using charcoal toothpaste isn’t all bad and sometimes your dentist may even recommend it. That still doesn’t mean you can brush your teeth with it every day.
You still need to have another toothpaste which isn’t as abrasive to use every day. You could use herbal or natural based toothpastes, but I recommend you go for ones that contain fluoride as it will keep the teeth strong and in top-notch condition.
Apart from that, brushing your teeth with activated charcoal everyday will cause sensitivity to your teeth and may even get lodged in the fillings and artificial crowns giving them a blackish hue.
And obviously that won’t look too good.
Can Charcoal Toothpaste Affect Enamel?
This cold war between dentists and companies that make charcoal toothpastes started only after several research studies showed it does more harm than good.
Please don’t think we are denying its teeth whitening properties. We aren’t!
But if you are going to use charcoal toothpaste daily, it will wear off all the enamel, eventually exposing the yellow dentin underneath.
While it does whiten your teeth when used regularly, there is a bigger price to pay in the long run. That’s because when the dentin is exposed, its not just the yellowness that will look unaesthetic, but your teeth will feel extremely sensitive.
Hot and cold stimuluses will only make you do one thing…
Cry with pain!
Your next option would then be to go to your dentist, hear them tell you how bad charcoal is for your enamel and then pay a fortune to get it fixed.
But this isn’t where it ends.
Since most dentists are against toothpastes with charcoal in it, some brands have introduced charcoal toothpastes with fluoride in it as well.
If you didn’t already know, fluoride is the one thing that plays the biggest role in keeping your teeth healthy and strong. Without fluoride, tooth decay would occur in the blink of an eye.
So now that fluoride has been mixed in with the activated charcoal, what harm can it do?
The charcoal will whiten the teeth and the fluoride will keep them strong and safe, am I right?
If you remember 8th grade math: plus minus equals to minus.
Similarly, mixing charcoal with fluoride is a minus too!
According to research, charcoal when added to a toothpaste can make other ingredients less effective, fluoride being the most important one. Even if it’s part of the toothpaste, it won’t be as effective anymore.
Really what will happen is the charcoal will keep making the teeth whiter all the while taking the enamel away from your teeth.
The choice is yours, Whiter teeth but crying of sensitivity or
Regular professional dental cleanings and no sensitivity?
In the ancient times, using charcoal was the most authentic and natural way to obtain whiter teeth, wonderful breath and no tooth decay.
But as soon as the modern times approached, science took over and came up with some wonderful products like toothpastes containing fluoride.
Activated charcoal slowly walked its way out of our lives.
However, recently some people remembered about how our great great grandfathers used charcoal to whiten their teeth.
Without much research and weighing the pros and cons, the business of producing charcoal toothpastes started, and now everyone raves about them!
But while charcoal is good for whitening teeth, in the long run it is an enemy of your enamel. It will start wearing it off and you will notice that the sensitivity never leaves your side.
It can also easily get lodged in fillings and restorations. Removing it would be one hell of a task.
Coming on to adding fluoride and getting the benefits of them both, I can only wish it was possible!
Since charcoal has proved to lessen the effectiveness of ingredients in a toothpaste, even if a charcoal toothpaste contains fluoride, it still won’t be of much help.
Thus, as we all know that activated charcoal is awesome when it comes to teeth whitening, I can’t forbid you from using it.
And while we are trying to reach a middle ground here, my suggestion would be that you only use it occasionally and then shift back to your regular fluoride containing toothpaste.
This way, your teeth will look visibly better for an important dinner date and won’t get damaged and all sensitive later either.
I think so too!
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A qualified Dentist who holds the BDS, RDS qualification. When she’s not helping patients with their oral health, you will find her on here writing topics on various dental issues. Her deep passion for writing makes her happy and fulfilled.