Charcoal toothpaste, in fact, charcoal treatment of all kind, has become a hot topic in personal care and beauty.
You may have seen mention of it on social media, where it is touted in supplements, in skin care products, and even in toothpaste.
All of this attention is due to charcoal’s alleged detoxification properties.
Proponents of charcoal-based toothpaste say that this detoxification ability makes charcoal uniquely suited to whiten teeth and keep dental health in tiptop condition.
At West Ryde Dental Clinic, we warn that this trendy new approach is probably not that useful for dental care, and we have concerns that it may cause harm.
So, today we’re going to take a closer look at charcoal toothpastes, their advantages and disadvantages, and discuss some more traditional approaches that are likely to be safer, quicker, and more effective, and can be received at West Ryde Dental Clinic.
What’s so special about (activated) charcoal?
The first thing to know is that activated charcoal is that it is only a version of ordinary charcoal treated to have small, low-volume pores that increase the surface area available for absorption.
This porous nature makes it easier for activated charcoal to trap chemicals – activated charcoal is a standard medical treatment for many kinds of poisoning.
Companies that manufacture activated charcoal toothpaste begin from this scientific premise, but go on to claim that activated charcoal can, therefore, eliminate toxins from gums and teeth, remove stains from your teeth, and leave you with a brighter, whiter smile.
Unfortunately, research seems to indicate this is not so.
Looking at the science
A review in the British Dental Journal looked at 50 charcoal toothpastes to determine if they fulfilled their claims to detoxify, strengthen, and whiten teeth.
They discovered no scientific evidence behind the claims, and that another quality of activated charcoal, its abrasion, may cause tooth damage.
These findings were supported in a 2017 Journal of the American Dental Association study analysing over 100 articles on charcoal-based toothpastes and powders.
This study found “insufficient clinical and laboratory data” to support their effectiveness or safety, and warned dentists and patients to “be cautious” in using them.
The Actual Effects of Charcoal
The logic behind charcoal-based tooth-whitener is that activated charcoal is extremely absorbent, so it absorbs toxins, stains, and chemicals.
But while charcoal is exceptionally porous, it is also very abrasive, and its whitening is little more than grinding off the top layer of tooth enamel, which temporarily takes the stain off, but permanently reduces the enamel.
This weakens the teeth as a whole and teeth become prone to cracking, chipping, and breaking.
As enamel thins, the naturally yellow dentin below begins to show through, discolouring the teeth in a way that can no longer be remedied by safe, quick, and effective dental whitening.
While this is occurring, the thinning of the enamel also leads to increased sensitivity to cold or hot.
Further, dental erosion roughens up tooth surfaces, which can lead to even more stain retention and gum recession.
The charcoal can also become lodged in the gums leading to inflammation and tissue trauma.
Side effects of ingesting charcoal include vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal damage, intestinal blockage and its absorptive powers can decrease medication absorption.
Other medications have potentially dangerous interactions with charcoal that you need to be aware of before using.
Given this toxic mix of potential problems and the fact that over 90% of charcoal toothpastes don’t contain fluoride, it seems that charcoal toothpastes are not a safe or effective way to whiten teeth. Luckily, at West Ryde Dental Clinic, we have options to help!
Whiter Teeth at West Ryde Dental Clinic
At West Ryde Dental Clinic, we offer multiple treatments for dingy or discoloured teeth.
Our first option is professional teeth whitening, which we offer in at-home and in-office forms.
A consultation with your West Ryde dentist will help you decide which option is best for you, but they both offer whitening of up to 8 shades in very short times (1-2 weeks for at-home; one visit for in-office).
If you suffer from permanent stains, or multiple cosmetic issues, our dental veneers might be just the answer. These wafer-thin shells slip over your teeth to give you an even, white, shiny smile.
Don’t risk the health of your teeth on Internet fads or unproven and potentially dangerous treatments. At West Ryde Dental Clinic, we offer time-tested, quick, and effective whitening. Give us a call!
The West Ryde Dental Clinic Advantage
At West Ryde Dental Clinic, our treatments and service are completely personalised to you and your needs.
Our dentists are highly accredited and motivated practitioners with graduate degrees from the University of Sydney.
Just as our dentists, the support staff at West Ryde Dental Clinic are 100% dedicated and experienced to ensure that each visit with us is as pleasant as possible.
Our Teeth Whitening Promotions
Philips Zoom whitening in-chair for $600 only!
And more on our promotions page!
We are located at Shop 20 West Ryde Marketplace, 14 Anthony Road in West Ryde.