Trendy toothpaste made with charcoal is probably a worse option for your teeth than traditional toothpaste, according to some British dentists. In a new paper, they argue that the whitening demand behind the products is completely untouched and that they even decay speed along the tooth and other dental problems.
High-quality charcoal was a novelty ingredient to add to the consumer product that you can think of as a burgers buns or make-up. But it's not just a black-and-white look that some companies are marketing; They also often claim that charcoal will clear toxins, wait for infections, or just make them healthier. In the case of charcoal toothpaste, they are supposed to be better at the teeth of teeth, clean off the stains, and prevent bad breath than conventional toothpaste.
There is some truth to the benefits of charcoal. Historically, ingesting charcoal is used to help relieve gas and other digestive problems. Now, activated charcoal, which is finely processed into a powder, is used to save people who have ingested certain deadly poisons or drugs, because the charcoal stops the poison of reaching the bloodstream through the intestine. And it is used (and still in some rural communities globally) as a rudimentary toothpaste.
But the authors of this paper appeared in the British Dental Journal, claiming that the new charcoal of toothpaste charcoal is essentially bunk. They point to the lack of any supporting evidence that the products are somehow better at cleaning and whitening teeth than other fashionable toothpastes. And there are many reasons to think they are worse.
For one, activated charcoal itself may be too abrasive for our teeth, wearing off their protective enamel layer. What's more, the dark charcoal paste can leave a grim teeth if it is not completely brushed off. The extra scrubbing needed to get rid of every trace of it can cause extra wear on the enamel.
It is also the fact that ingredients known to help prevent tooth decay, such as fluorides, are often taken out of charcoal toothpaste, because the charcoal can absorb them. And while other ingredients can be substituted for fluoride, the products can still be worse overall, keeping your teeth healthy. Ultimately, it's a cause that small bits of charcoal can get stuck in fillings, vents, or other dental restorations. Over time, this accumulation may ironically make your teeth look worse by permanently staining the dental restorations.
And the dentists aren't the only ones to worry about charcoal. A 2017 review in the American Dental Association magazine found that it is "insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substitute for the safety and efficacy of charcoal and charcoal-based" toothpastes.
All that is to say, there is no need to stick the coals in your mouth when regular Toothpastes do their job well. And as we have reported before, even the gentle toothbrush can wear enamel, so you only need light pressure when cleaning your teeth.