Activated charcoal is a featured-ingredient in many commercially-available products such as face wash, makeup, and now even toothpaste! It is advertised as a way to naturally whiten tooth enamel but does it actually work or is this just a sales gimmick that can actually put your teeth at risk? Columbus, GA dentist Dr. Albert Caves and the American Dental Association have some advice for those who are curious about charcoal toothpaste.
Charcoal is a porous black solid form of carbon that is created by burning wood or other organic material. Charcoal is said to be “activated” when it’s burned at an even higher temperature, making it stickier.
This stickiness of activated charcoal is why activated charcoal is often used in medicine to help absorb toxins in the stomach. But does it actually work to draw stains out of enamel — the hard outer layer of your teeth?
Should I Use Charcoal Toothpaste?
The American Dental Association has found no proof that charcoal toothpaste is effective at removing stains from enamel. In fact, it may actually be harmful to your teeth.
Activated charcoal is abrasive and can damage the enamel. The enamel is the layer that gets whitened when you use a whitening toothpaste, but activated charcoal can actually remove enamel, exposing a yellow layer underneath called dentin.
Modern toothpaste and toothbrushes are designed to gently clean the surface of the teeth. You wouldn’t want an abrasive scraping away your precious enamel. Dentin, once revealed, is extremely sensitive and even more prone to stains than enamel.
Alternatives to Natural Whitening
The best ways to whiten your teeth naturally are maintaining a healthy oral hygiene regimen, such as brushing your teeth twice a day with an American Dental Association-approved whitening toothpaste, limiting foods like coffee and red wine that stain teeth easily, and regularly visiting Dr. Caves.
There are in-office teeth whitening procedures that can safely whiten the enamel without damaging it. Retail stores also carry ADA-approved bleaching products that are safe for your teeth.The most important thing about your smile is not how white it is but that it’s a healthy one. If you’re not sure about which teeth whitening procedure is best for you, call (706) 407-4851 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Caves or schedule online.