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Is Charcoal Toothpaste Safe or Effective?

Activated charcoal has recently become popular as an ingredient in many healthcare, including face wash, makeup, and even toothpaste. Charcoal-based toothpastes claim that it naturally whitens your teeth. However, do these toothpastes actually work like they say? Is charcoal a safe ingredient to use to whiten your teeth or this actually a gimmick that can actually risk your dental health? Dr. Perkins and Dr. Barth of Perkins Dentistry in Dunnellon FL and the American Dental Association have some advice for those who are curious about charcoal toothpaste.

Why Charcoal?

Let’s talk about charcoal first. Charcoal is a porous black solid form of carbon that is created from burning wood or other organic material.  Charcoal is better known for being used in your barbeque than in dental products. It is described as “activated” when it’s been burned at an even higher temperature, causing it to become sticky.

This stickiness that activated charcoal has is why it’s often used in medicine to absorb toxins in the stomach. But does activated charcoal really draw out impurities anywhere else?

Should I Use Charcoal Toothpaste?

Not only has the American Dental Association found no evidence that charcoal toothpaste is effective or even safe, it seems the charcoal may actually harm your gums and teeth.

Activated charcoal is an abrasive substance that can remove the outer layer of the tooth called the enamel. While the enamel may be the part you want to whiten when you use a whitening toothpaste, the abrasiveness of charcoal can actually remove more than the stains it’s meant to target. Continued use of charcoal-based toothpaste can scrape away your enamel, exposing a sensitive yellow layer of the tooth called dentin.

Modern toothpaste and toothbrushes are designed to gently clean the surfaces of your teeth. You wouldn’t something abrasive like charcoal rubbing away your enamel. And teeth are more easily stained when their enamel is thinner.

Alternatives to Natural Whitening

The best way of naturally whitening your teeth is to maintain a healthy oral hygiene regimen, including brushing your teeth twice a day with an American Dental Association-approved whitening toothpaste, limiting intake of foods like coffee and red wine that are likely to stain teeth, and regularly visiting Dr. Perkins or Dr. Barth for cleanings and examinations.

In-office teeth whitening procedures are also available at Perkins Dentistry. These procedures are designed to safely whiten your enamel without degrading it. Bleaching products are also available for sale at most drugstores with the ADA seal of approval, meaning that they have been determined safe for teeth.

The most important part of your smile is that it stays healthy and strong. If you’re not sure about which teeth whitening procedure is best for you, call (352) 440-5827 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Perkins or Dr. Barth today.