Activated charcoal is now a featured ingredient in many commercially-available products such as face wash, makeup, and now, even toothpaste as a way to naturally whiten teeth. But does it actually work for this purpose or is it simply a gimmick that can actually risk your health?
Indianapolis, IN dentists Dr. Robin Thoman and Dr. Carole Thoman of Paradox Dental Center 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 from burning wood or other organic material. Charcoal becomes “activated” when it’s burned at an even higher temperature yet, giving it a sticky quality.
This ability to make things stick to activated charcoal is why it’s commonly used in medicine to help absorb toxins in the stomach in cases of poisoning. But does it actually work to draw out impurities in the enamel?
Should I Use Charcoal Toothpaste?
The American Dental Association has not found any evidence that charcoal toothpaste is effective for whitening, and it may actually harm the teeth and gums.
Activated charcoal is abrasive, which can scrape away the outer layer of the tooth called the enamel. This is the part of your teeth that is affected when you use a whitening toothpaste, but using charcoal can actually remove enamel and expose the more sensitive under-layer of the tooth called dentin.
Modern toothpaste and toothbrushes are designed to gently clean the surface of the teeth, and you don’t want an abrasive substance like charcoal scratching your teeth and removing precious enamel.
Alternatives to Natural Whitening
The best ways to naturally whiten teeth are to maintain healthy oral care habits, such as brushing your teeth twice a day with an American Dental Association-approved whitening toothpaste, limiting intake of staining foods like coffee and red wine, and regularly visiting the Drs. Thoman.
There are also in-office teeth whitening procedures that safely whiten the enamel without damaging it under the careful supervision of a dentist. Bleaching products are also available in retail stores with the ADA seal of approval that are safe for teeth.
The most important part of your smile isn’t how white it is but that it is healthy. If you’re not sure about which teeth whitening procedure is best for you, call (317) 325-8612 or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Robin or Carole Thoman at Paradox Dental Center today.