Activated Charcoal – Friend or Enemy of your White Smile?
Activated charcoal seems to be everywhere these days!
It can be found in face creams, ice cream, and even burger buns!
And if you pay attention to some bloggers and influencers on the Internet, they’ll tell you that activated charcoal-based toothpastes are the next big thing in tooth whitening and oral health.
They claim that charcoal is a good, natural alternative to bleaches and gels for whitening teeth.
They’ll say that charcoal can absorb and remove stains caused by foods like dark berries, coffee, tea, and red wine.
If this sounds too good to be true, it is because it almost certainly is.
At Forster Dental Centre, we’re here to tell you that there is very little evidence that activated charcoal-based toothpastes have any long-term effect on your smile, and there is an excellent chance that using activated charcoal-based toothpaste may harm your smile and dental health.
Let’s take a look!
How would charcoal even work?
Charcoal is extremely porous by nature. And when turned into ‘activated’ charcoal through missing with chemicals or oxidising gasses at very high heat, it becomes even more porous.
This means that activated charcoal is exceptionally absorptive of other chemicals. So absorptive that it is used to soak up certain kinds of poisons.
Proponents of charcoal toothpaste claim that this absorption enables the toothpaste to take up bacteria, debris, and toxins in your mouth, even leading to a whiter smile.
But a review of scientific and dental research shows very little evidence of this, instead of uncovering a list of potential threats.
What are the risks?
Here is a short list of possible adverse effects that can be caused by activated charcoal-based toothpaste.
Abrasion. Used regularly charcoal can harm tooth enamel and gum tissue. This is probably the main issue.
To the extent that charcoal can remove stains, it does that by grinding off the top layers of tooth enamel.
While this may temporarily remove stains, it comes with significant threats to dental health and permanent stains down the line.
As your enamel abrades away, your teeth become more prone to temperature sensitivity, chips, cracks, and decay.
And as if this isn’t bad enough, any cosmetic gains that charcoal brings are almost sure to be temporary.
As enamel disappears, the soft dentin beneath begins to show through. This dentin is yellow-coloured and once the enamel is gone its yellow sheen is free to show through your teeth permanently.
Over-absorption. Charcoal’s undeniable absorptive power can be a threat in some cases.
Charcoal is often used in cases of potential poisoning because it sucks up chemicals in the body. This means it might also have adverse effects on patients taking oral medications.
Constipation. Here’s a kind of gross one. Constipation and even intestinal blockage can result from the long-term use of charcoal, in addition to black stools.
After effects. Even people who love charcoal toothpaste report that after using it, they need to use regular toothpaste to wash its black residue away.
Otherwise, they have “charcoal breath” and a black residue on their smile.
Lack of fluoride. One study revealed that less than 10% of studied charcoal toothpaste contained fluoride.
This means that charcoal based toothpaste shouldn’t be used to replace regular toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Fluoride fights dental decay – it remineralises enamel, making it stronger and safer than before use!
Uncertain safety. There are few studies on the effects of charcoal on the human body, so both short and long-term effects are unknown.
How can Forster Dental Centre help?
The good news is we have safe, time-tested, effective, and non-faddish ways to help you whiten your teeth.
For removable stains, we offer in-office teeth whitening, and for stains that cannot be removed, or teeth with discolouration and other cosmetic issues at the same time, we offer beautiful shiny porcelain veneers.
Our whitening is handle in our office, and in one brief visit, you can have your teeth whitened up to 8 shades – walking out of our office with a stunning smile that you didn’t have when you entered!
In case whitening is not appropriate, our customised porcelain veneers can be attached to the surfaces of your teeth, resulting in a white, bright, attractive smile.
Don’t waste time and safety with charcoal based toothpaste. If you have stained or discoloured teeth, book a consultation with Forster Dental Centre and discover how we can help!
Your Local Dentist at Forster Dental Centre
Forster Dental Centre provides each patient with the care that allows them to maintain healthy teeth and an optimal smile for life!
We offer an extensive range of dental services from preventative dentistry to restorative dental options along with the latest in cosmetic dentistry solutions for straighter and whiter teeth.
We pride ourselves on listening to the needs and concerns of all our patients and aim to provide you with the personalised attention you and your family deserves.
We are located at 1st Floor Forster Tower, 12 Wallis St in Forster.