Over the last few years charcoal has been added to products ranging from skin and hair care to “detox” drinks and oral health products. If you’ve seen charcoal-infused toothpaste, toothbrush heads, or mouth rinses advertised online or on display at the grocery store you know exactly what we’re talking about. There are wide-ranging claims that charcoal dental products have whitening, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and/or breath-freshening properties, but while scrolling through those ads online or strolling by the brush heads at the store did you ever wonder whether those claims were true?
Researchers recently published an article about this issue in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA). After reviewing over 100 clinical studies and a number of dentifrices (pastes and powders for cleaning teeth) the researchers concluded that there isn’t sufficient evidence to prove the safety or effectiveness of charcoal-based toothpastes and powders.
There are also some risks to consider before using these types of products. Charcoal is an abrasive mineral that can wear through the enamel of your teeth and ultimately expose dentin (the yellowish layer beneath enamel), which would cause the opposite effect of whitening. It’s also possible to have an increased risk of tooth decay because many charcoal toothpaste products don’t contain fluoride, which strengthens your enamel and prevents cavities.
To learn more about whitening services our office provides visit our Teeth Whitening page.
For additional evidence-based information about various whitening methods and insight into a few whitening myths take a look at these articles: