Charcoal Toothpaste?

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Are you a follower of beauty and personal care trends? If you are, chances are you have heard about charcoal toothpaste that gives one a sparkling smile. Whether a friend, oral health care professional recommended it or you found it on pinterest, you may be curious to know if the toothpaste actually live up to the hype.

As smile Avenue Specialist Dental Center, we recognize some positive experiences that are often highlighted by our esteemed clients using this toothpaste as a supplement to their dental care program. However, it is important to try and pinpoint important facts about charcoal toothpaste. Keep in mind, this is not a medical advice, it is just basic information about the merits and demerits of charcoal toothpaste.

What is Charcoal toothpaste?

Charcoal toothpaste is made from activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is chemically treated resulting in extra absorption ability. For this reason, charcoal toothpaste is thought to absorb food debris and bacteria, well! Basically dental plaque. Those who use it report stain removal, improved breath, and whiter looking teeth.

Activated charcoal is typically made from slowly charring a variety of materials including bone, coconut shells, olive pits, or sawdust. It is known for the ability to absorb particles which is why it is commonly used in water filters.

Historically, the ancient Romans used charcoal to brush their teeth. This ancient practice reemerged as a modern trend in recent years. Fans of charcoal toothpaste claim it has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. They also claim it whitens teeth, removes stains, and freshens their breath.

That all sounds good but is it safe? In the Journal of American Dental Association, a peer-reviewed research about the benefits of charcoal toothpaste, concluded that caution needs to be exercised in using charcoal toothpaste. The safety and effectiveness has not yet been clinically established.

Some of the benefits that some users report after using charcoal toothpaste 

Most users believe that charcoal toothpaste reduces toxins in the mouth and as a result treats bad breath.  Some actually, credit the toothpaste for its said antibacterial properties in charcoal with improving their breath.

Other fans find that it helps remove stubborn surface stains like red wine stains from the teeth. Removal of stains results in whiter looking teeth and that feel of a polished sensation

These benefits are anecdotal; so far there hasn’t been sufficient peer-reviewed research to make any clinical determinations. While many users’ experiences are positive, it is important to note some of the cons and cautions to using it.

Potential Disadvantages of Using Charcoal Toothpaste 

As Smile Avenue Specialist Dental Center, we always recommend a toothpaste containing fluoride since it helps strengthen the teeth. Be sure to read labels to see whether it contains fluoride. If not, consider using a fluoride mouthwash.

Brushing with charcoal toothpaste may make teeth look whiter due to “stain removal”, but its efficacy in removal of intrinsic (deep) stains is questionable. Intrinsic (deeper) stains may be the result of trauma, exposure to high levels of fluoride during the developmental stages of teeth, weak enamel (Inadequately formed), and some medications.

Professional whitening is therefore required for more serious whitening beneath the tooth’s surface.

As Smile Avenue Specialist Dental Center, our biggest concern is the abrasive texture of charcoal which may damage or erode tooth enamel. Ironically, this can result in a yellow appearance as enamel is stripped away showing the inner layers of the teeth. We always recommend gently brushing twice a day using a soft bristled brush and professionally formulated toothpaste.

Since enamel may get worn away due to the abrasive nature of the toothpaste, increased sensitivity is a side effect that some may experience from using charcoal toothpaste. When the enamel breaks down, the more sensitive inner layers of the teeth are vulnerable to irritation.

Perhaps the most surprising disadvantage of charcoal toothpaste is that it can actually interfere with some medications. It may absorb some of the medication making it less effective.

If you are considering charcoal toothpaste, discuss it with your dentist and your primary care doctor. If your doctor gives you the go ahead, be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly after using charcoal toothpaste.

Smile Avenue Specialist Dental Center Recommendations 

First, discuss your interest in charcoal toothpaste with your dentist. It is important to determine first whether your tooth enamel is strong enough to withstand its use. If your dentist approves it, use it gently and in moderation. It shouldn’t replace your core dental care routine.

Your core dental care plan should include:

  • Regular professional cleanings once or twice a year as recommended by your dentist and dental hygienist (more cleanings may be required depending on your needs)
  • Gentle brushing twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride.
  • Floss daily. Some people may use the water flosser instead of flossing for example if certain orthodontic work makes flossing difficult.
  • If you want whiter teeth, consider professional tooth whitening to reach deeper layers of the teeth without harming enamel as much.
  • If bad breath is a concern, seek professional help or consider sugar free gum or a mouthwash.

Make an informed choice about charcoal toothpaste use; you may now have a better sense of whether it may be beneficial to you.

Routine dental visit and professional cleanings may even mitigate a patient’s interest in using charcoal toothpaste for stain removal.

@smileAvenueDen2 for specialised dental care. Call us today to schedule an appointment if you haven’t had your examination or professional cleaning.

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