Activated charcoal is now a featured ingredient in many commercially-available products such as face wash, makeup, and now, even toothpaste- with claims that it is a way to naturally whiten teeth. Does charcoal toothpaste actually whiten teeth better or is it merely a gimmick — one that can actually risk the health of your teeth? Bayside Dentistry of Virginia Beach VA and the American Dental Association have some advice for those who are curious about charcoal toothpaste.
Charcoal is a solid form of carbon that is porous and black in appearance, produced from burning wood or other organic material. “Activated charcoal” is charcoal after it has been burned at an even higher temperature that what initially produced it, which makes particles stick to it.
This stickiness of activated charcoal is why it is frequently used in internal medicine to help draw out toxins from the stomach. But does it actually work to remove toxins from anywhere else such as impurities from your tooth enamel?
Should I Use Charcoal Toothpaste?
The American Dental Association has not endorsed any research that charcoal toothpaste is effective or even safe. It may, in fact, actually be harmful to your teeth and gums.
Activated charcoal has an abrasive texture and can erode away the enamel or outer layer of your tooth. This layer of protective enamel is what you want to see whitened when you use a whitening toothpaste, but using a toothpaste with activated charcoal can actually erode away enamel and expose a more yellow layer of the tooth called dentin.
The toothpastes and toothbrushes of today are designed to gently clean the surfaces of teeth. You wouldn’t want to clean your teeth with something abrasive that removes precious enamel. Removing enamel endangers the health and appearance of your teeth, making them more vulnerable to decay and stains as well as making them more sensitive.
Alternatives for Natural Whitening
The best way to naturally whiten your teeth is to practice healthy oral habits, such as brushing your teeth twice daily with an ADA (American Dental Association)-approved whitening toothpaste and limiting your intake of dyed or pigmented foods likely to stain (coffee, tea, red wine). You should also visit Bayside Dentistry for regular cleanings.
In-office teeth whitening procedures are available to help you have the bright smile you want. Also, at-home whitening products that safely whiten the enamel without damaging it are available in retail stores. Look for the ADA seal of approval that indicates these are safe for teeth. The most important part of your smile is how healthy it is not how white but both can be achieved with help from your dentist. If you’re uncertain which teeth whitening option is best for your smile, call (757) 264-6361 to set up a consultation with your Bayside Dentistry dentist or schedule an appointment online.