There are many uses of activated charcoal, from water filters to health products that help with flatulence, kidney health, and more recently toothpaste and toothbrushes.
But how does it help your teeth?
Activated charcoal is said to whiten teeth and freshen breath better than any other toothpaste you can find in your supermarket.
But is it safe to use?
First let’s find out…
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is made from natural resources including coconut shells, peat, sawdust or oak branches. It undergoes an ‘activation’ process at very high temperatures to change the internal structure and reducing the size of its pores, thus increasing its surface area.
This results in the charcoal being more porous than regular charcoal, which is not to be confused with the coal beads you use to light a BBQ with or the burnt wood in your fireplace.
How does activated charcoal toothpaste work?
Activated charcoal toothpaste is primarily used for teeth whitening purposes as it may help remove surface stains on your teeth.
Although, there is insufficient scientific evidence on how charcoal toothpaste effects stains below the tooth’s enamel, or that it has a natural whitening effect.
Deeper intrinsic stains as a result of trauma, weaken enamels, types of medication seem to be unaffected.
Is activated charcoal toothpaste safe to use?
A recent study conducted by the British Dental Journal in early 2019 found that charcoal provides little to no protection against tooth decay.
In fact, the toothpaste is quite abrasive and can remove the enamel on your teeth and eventually cause them to become more sensitive and yellow with prolonged use.
Most dental health professionals will recommend having your teeth professionally whitened, where products have been safety tested and approved by Australian Health Standards.
However, some experts say that using finely grounded and controlled amounts of activated charcoal can be safe to use in specially formulated products, sparingly.
Benefits of using charcoal toothpaste
- Can help remove surfaces stains on your teeth
- Can improve bad breath
- May assist in keeping your teeth whiter for longer after a professional clean
Disadvantages of using charcoal toothpaste
- Quite abrasive and can wear down the tooth’s enamel, making teeth appear more yellow after prolonged use.
- Does not remove intrinsic stains (stains below the surface)
- Does not contain fluoride, which is used to protect your teeth against tooth decay. (studies show that fluoride remains the most effective elements against tooth decay)
- Everyday use may result in tooth sensitivity
- Can have a negative impact on dental restorations, including veneers, dental implants, bridges, crowns and white fillings.
What is an activated charcoal toothbrush?
A charcoal toothbrush looks and uses just like a normal toothbrush except the bristles are infused with activated charcoal.
The whole idea behind a charcoal toothbrush is that when you brush your teeth, the bacteria is absorbed into the bristles instead of just pushing it around your mouth.
However, the big question remains, do charcoal toothbrushes work?
Similarly to activated charcoal toothpaste, there is little to no scientific evidence showing that activated toothbrushes provide any health benefits.
Benefits of using an activated charcoal toothbrush
- Bristles may absorb plaque and bacteria rather than spreading it around to other teeth
- May help whiten teeth by removing surface stains left by coffee, red wine and other staining foods & drinks
- May improve bad breath
Disadvantages of using an activated charcoal toothbrush
- Lack of scientific evidence on the benefits or negative impact it has on your teeth
- More expensive than regular toothbrushes
- Hard to find at the supermarket
Other teeth whitening methods
Fortunately, if teeth whitening is your main objective there are plenty of ways to achieve whiter teeth. There are over-the-counter teeth whitening products, including toothpaste and strips, which have undergone scientific testing, proven to whiten teeth and have been approved by Australian Safety Standards.
There are also professional teeth whitening services and products provided by our cosmetic dentist here at Tandara Dental Centre. Teeth whitening is now more affordable than ever, anyone can achieve a sparkling white smile that makes you look and feel younger.
– In-chair teeth whitening done in the comfort of our practice
– Take-home teeth whitening kit