Activated charcoal is now a featured ingredient in many commercially-available beauty and hygiene products. These include face wash, makeup, and even toothpaste with a claim that it increases the whitening effect. But does it actually work? Is charcoal actually an effective teeth whitening ingredient or is it merely a gimmick that can actually risk the health of your teeth? Chester Springs PA dentist Dr. Jason Petkevis of Dental Distinction and the American Dental Association have some advice for those who are curious about the potential problems of charcoal toothpaste.
First let’s get some background on charcoal. Charcoal is a porous black solid form of carbon that is created from burning wood or other organic material. It’s better known for its’ uses in your barbeque rather than in health products. Charcoal is considered “activated” when it is burned again higher temperature, making it sticky.
This sticky quality that activated charcoal has is a reason it is frequently used in modern medicine to absorb toxins in the stomach. But does activated charcoal actually work to draw out toxins or impurities such as stains in teeth?
Should I Use Charcoal Toothpaste?
The American Dental Association has found zero evidence that charcoal toothpaste is an effective whitener and it might, in fact, actually harm your gums and teeth.
Activated charcoal is abrasive in addition to sticky. This abrasiveness can remove the enamel (outer layer) of your tooth. So while the enamel is the part you want to whiten when you use a whitening toothpaste, using charcoal toothpaste can actually remove more than the stains it is meant to target. This erosion of your enamel can eventually expose a sensitive yellow layer of the tooth called dentin.
Modern toothpaste and toothbrushes are specially formulated to gently clean the surface of the teeth. Since teeth are more easily stained when the enamel is thinner, you don’t want something abrasive like charcoal scraping the precious enamel off your teeth.
Alternatives to Natural Whitening
The best way to naturally whiten your teeth is to stick to a healthy oral hygiene regimen that includes brushing your teeth twice a day with an American Dental Association-approved whitening toothpaste. Limiting your intake of colorful foods like coffee and red wine, and regularly visiting Dr. Petkevis’ office for cleanings and examinations are also important.
In-office teeth whitening procedures are available at Dental Distinction. These procedures can safely whiten your enamel without damaging it like charcoal toothpaste potentially can. Safe over-the-counter bleaching products are also available in your local drugstore or big box store with the ADA seal of approval- that means they have been deemed safe for teeth.
The most important part of your smile is that it’s a healthy one. If you’re not sure about which teeth whitening procedure is best for you, call 610.400.1459 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Petkevis at Dental Distinction in Chester Springs today.