There is a recent trend of including activated charcoal in many commercially available products such as face wash, makeup, and now, even toothpaste as a way to naturally whiten teeth. Does activated charcoal actually help whiten teeth or is it a gimmick that can actually risk your health? Dr. Benjamin Stevens at Beautiful Smiles in Greenwood IN and the American Dental Association have some advice for those who are curious about charcoal toothpaste.

Why Charcoal?

Charcoal is a porous black solid form of carbon that is produced by burning wood or other organic material. Charcoal is considered “activated” when it’s burned at an even higher temperature, making it somewhat sticky.

This sticky quality of activated charcoal is why it’s commonly used in medicine to help absorb toxins in the stomach. But does it actually work to draw out stains from teeth?

Should I Use Charcoal Toothpaste?

The American Dental Association does not support charcoal toothpaste as safe or effective, and furthermore it may actually harm the teeth and gums.

Activated charcoal is abrasive and can scrape away the outer layer of the tooth called the enamel if used enough. The enamel is what you want whitened when you use a whitening toothpaste, but using charcoal-based toothpastes can actually remove enamel and expose a more sensitive yellow layer of the tooth underneath called dentin.

Modern toothpaste and toothbrushes are designed to be gentle when cleaning the surface of the teeth. You don’t want something abrasive scraping your teeth and removing precious enamel. In fact, removing enamel actually makes your teeth more prone to staining and also more sensitive.

Alternatives For Natural Whitening

The best ways to naturally whiten teeth are by increasing healthy oral habits, such as brushing your teeth twice a day with an American Dental Association-approved whitening toothpaste. Limiting your intake of foods that are likely to stain enamel such as coffee and red wine, and regularly visiting Dr. Stevens or your local dentist are also recommended.

There are also in-office teeth whitening procedures available now that safely whiten the enamel without damaging it. You can also purchase bleaching products in retail stores with the ADA seal of approval that are safe for teeth.

Healthy Smiles in Greenwood, IN

The most important thing about your smile should be that it is healthy. If you’re not sure about which teeth whitening procedure is best for you, call (317) 886-4512 or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Stevens at Beautiful Smiles today.