Activated charcoal is now an ingredient advertised in many commercially-available products such as face wash, makeup, and more. Now, even toothpaste features it as a means to naturally whiten teeth. Does activated charcoal actually work to whiten teeth or is it this just a fad to sell designer toothpaste that can actually risk your health? Rockville MD dentists Dr. Ali Sarkarzadeh and Dr. Sina Farzin of Congressional Dental Care 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 by burning wood or other organic material. Charcoal is said to be “activated” after it has been burned again at an even higher temperature which makes it more effective at sticking to things.
This sticky quality of activated charcoal is why it’s frequently used by medical doctors to help absorb toxins in the stomach. But does it actually work to absorb stains from teeth?
Should I Use Charcoal Toothpaste?
The American Dental Association does not advocate for charcoal toothpaste as being either safe or effective. It may actually do more harm than good for your teeth and gums.
Activated charcoal is abrasive and could possibly damage or remove the outer layer of the tooth: the enamel. This layer is what you want to whiten whenever you use a whitening toothpaste, but using charcoal-based toothpastes can actually remove enamel, exposing a more yellow under-layer of the tooth called dentin.
Most toothpastes and toothbrushes are intended to gently clean the surface of the teeth. An abrasive substance like activated charcoal is anything but gentle and could scratch or scrape away your precious enamel. This topmost layer is naturally resistant to stains but the dentin underneath is not and will be stained more quickly and severely if exposed, as well as causing your teeth to be more sensitive.
Alternatives to Natural Whitening
Dentists suggest maintaining healthy oral 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 Congressional Dental Care in Rockville MD.
In-office teeth whitening procedures are also available at most dental offices including at Congressional Dental Care. These procedures, performed by dentists, safely whiten the enamel without damaging it. Over-the-counter bleaching products with the ADA seal of approval that are safe for teeth are also widely available in most drug stores.
If you’re unsure about which teeth whitening procedure is best for you, call (301-276-4694) or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Farzin or Dr. Sarkarzadeh today.