Is Activated Charcoal Toothpaste Actually Safe to Use?

What is activated charcoal and what is it even doing in the world of oral care?

Charcoal is a form of carbon that’s typically derived from wood and heated in very high temperatures to remove all non-carbon compounds. Unlike regular charcoal, activated charcoal involves heating several carbon-rich substances such as coconut shells, sawdust, and coal. These materials are heated in even higher temperatures making activated charcoal extremely absorbent, binding very easily to other substances. The end result is also a soft sand-like powder rather than large lumps of black blocks. Through this chemical process, activated charcoal is extremely porous which has led to its involvement in teeth whitening .
The use of activated charcoal is oral care is not a recent a discovery. The ancient Greek used charcoal to treat bad breath and black gums. In the 1900’s, people began further exploring the use of charcoal in dental care with commercialized products like charcoal dental creams.

charcoal toothpaste

Benefits of Charcoal Toothpaste

There have been many positive reviews from customers who use activated charcoal products to whiten their teeth stating that the products work and their teeth are visibly whiter. The use of charcoal toothpaste also doesn’t have serious, life-altering side affects. HOWEVER…

Risks of Charcoal Toothpaste

With that being said, scientists have stated that there is insufficient evidence for the effectiveness of charcoal products for oral care. The results have not been able to be substantiated so there is a lack of data to support continued use of charcoal toothpaste. In fact, one study compared activated charcoal toothpaste to other toothpastes and found that the charcoal brand performed no better than the others. Furthermore, charcoal is known to be very abrasive as it binds to substances in order to remove surface-level stains which causes enamel to break down. The whitening results are temporary and will not provide long-term results as it does not actually whiten the enamel, rather it is just removing surface stains.

charcoal toothpaste

Here’s the bottom line:

Does charcoal toothpaste work? Sure. If you are in need of a temporary, quick teeth whitening solution, activated charcoal might be the answer. However, experts have recommended to keep use to a minimum or none at all since excessive use will cause enamel damage (and once it’s gone, it’s gone!) and there is little scientific evidence to support the positive claims of long-term use of activated charcoal for oral care.

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