Recently, charcoal toothpaste is becoming a huge social media trend. Many bloggers and social media influencers swear that it gives you a brighter, whiter smile. But does it actually work better than traditional whitening toothpastes, and more importantly, is it safe?
Using charcoal to whiten teeth is not a new trend. Ancient Romans used powdered charcoal in their toothpastes. Activated charcoal also has a long history when it comes to medical use. Primarily, activated charcoal is used to help treat people who have been poisoned. Strangely enough, according to the National Institutes of Health, activated charcoal is often used to treat severe cases of toothpaste overdose!
There are concerns about the abrasiveness of charcoal, which could damage enamel if used regularly. Charcoal also has a tendency to absorb things, and even the good things like different medicines and enzymes. Charcoal toothpaste is good for removing surface stains, but it isn’t all that great for whitening teeth. Surface stains are extrinsic stains that result from coffee, tea, tobacco and dark colored foods that live on the enamel layer of the tooth. These surface stains can generally be removed. Deeper, intrinsic stains are not a result of foods, but instead a result of weak enamel, trauma, and certain types of medication. Charcoal toothpaste can definitely help to remove coffee stains, but it doesn't do half as good of a job as an in office whitening treatment.
Just because charcoal has “detoxifying” effects, doesn't mean that it will detoxify your mouth. The effect of getting rid of plaque, and food particles that can lead to bad breath, is no different than the effect you would get with regular toothpaste. Your mouth does not operate like your liver and kidneys. The gums of your mouth do not get full of so called toxins. You should note that activated charcoal can be used to brighten teeth, but it should not replace your regular toothpaste!