Dental Care Tips

Activated Charcoal – Life Hack Or Dangerous Ingredient?

Have you ever heard of brushing your teeth with charcoal? It has actually become a trendy thing to do. Along with beauty products like charcoal masks for the face, charcoal toothpaste and other activated charcoal products designed for oral use have made their way into the marketplace. If you are wondering how to brush with charcoal, a quick glance at social media will offer up many tutorials. So just what exactly is this charcoal phenomenon all about?

First, it is important to point out that activated charcoal is not the same thing that would be used to grill some burgers and dogs on the backyard BBQ. Charcoal briquettes that are used for grilling are designed to burn, often being mixed with chemical accelerants.  Activated charcoal on the other hand is a substance made of things like coconut shells, burned wood, peat, olive pits and other natural substances. 

The thought behind using activated charcoal for oral hygiene is that its adsorbent nature is thought to bind to other substances including any potential toxins that might be in your mouth. Essentially the logic behind this approach is that the charcoal binds to the toxins and then you spit everything out before you rinse. 

Are Charcoal Toothbrushes Safe? 

Charcoal toothbrushes are a newer product on the market. The concept is similar to charcoal toothpastes and charcoal powders, but instead the activated charcoal is built right into the toothbrush bristles. The claims of these types of brushes is that they bind to plaque and bacteria as you brush, they help whiten teeth, help to reduce bad breath, and help prevent stains from reoccurring. 

While there is still research to be done on the detox benefits from charcoal toothbrushes, claims of teeth whitening are really not dissimilar to that of what many people have sworn by baking soda to do for decades. It is likely the abrasive action that is removing stains from the teeth rather than the charcoal itself. 

So are charcoal toothbrushes safe? They are likely not going to cause any harm, but we recommend purchasing toothbrushes that have been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Check and be sure that yours is on their list

Dangers Of Charcoal Toothpaste

Like all products, it is important to know what you are putting into your mouth. Any substance, even a natural one, has the potential for side effects. One potential harmful side effect of charcoal toothpaste could be tooth erosion. As mentioned above, similar to age-old home remedies like baking soda, it may whiten your teeth, but it is likely doing so at the cost of your tooth enamel. The enamel is what protects your teeth from sensitivities and decay, so if you are rubbing it away, you are leaving your teeth vulnerable. 

One common ingredient that is typically lacking from charcoal toothpastes is fluoride, which is recommended by the ADA to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is a proven ingredient in helping to protect against cavities and gum disease. Furthermore, the ADA has noted there just simply is not enough research and evidence to back up the marketing claims of many charcoal products being promoted for oral health

Bottom line, it is best to stick to oral health products that have been approved by the ADA for their intended use. If you are looking for a whiter, brighter smile, consider visiting a cosmetic dentist who specializes in teeth whitening treatments that are both effective and safe for your teeth and gums.