Activated Charcoal Toothpaste: Effective or Just a Marketing Gimmick?
Charcoal toothpaste has surged in popularity recently, but why? Charcoal as we all know is black carbon which is the product formed from burning wood or other organic matter. It becomes “activated” when it’s exposed to high temperatures and gases that expand its surface area, causing tiny ridges to form on its surface. It is these tiny ridges that give the charcoal a large surface area, which can be great for binding to toxins in our body.
So why add charcoal to toothpaste?
The main idea behind charcoal toothpaste is detoxification. Charcoal’s natural toxin binding ability is what some companies are claiming will remove stains from enamel and therefore “whiten” teeth. Another reason for using charcoal in toothpaste is its abrasive quality which is said to help remove staining. However in modern dentistry, abrasiveness is seen as a negative quality when it comes to toothpaste, as it can wear away enamel crystals.
So is adding charcoal to toothpaste effective?
While it might seem a little weird to care for your pearly whites with a deeply black material, many people swear by the stuff and have really fallen in love with it. We’re all for loving your oral care products — but the actual evidence for charcoal effectiveness is… dark, like the charcoal itself.
There is no substantial evidence to suggest its effectiveness or how safe it is to use on a daily or even weekly basis.
The problem is that no long-term studies exist to prove that activated charcoal has any measurable dental hygiene-related benefits at all, and JADA (the Journal of the American Dental Association) recently published research saying there is no evidence of safety or effectiveness. Dental professionals say that not only are the “toxin binding” properties of charcoal unproven to help whiten teeth, but it can also be too abrasive for your teeth and wear down the protective enamel layer, even causing harm to your gums.