The Charcoal Trend: Is It Helping or Hurting Your Smile?

Using activated charcoal as a toothpaste is the latest trend. People swear it will whiten your teeth, kill off bacteria, and “detox” your mouth, but is it really as good for you as they claim? Well, according to the experts, yes and no. In this article, we’ll delve into this new fad and explain both the pros and cons.

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toothbrush with toothpaste closeup

The Argument Against Charcoal

According to some experts, brushing your teeth with activated charcoal actually causes damage. Research reveals that charcoal is abrasive, which means it will roughen the surface of your teeth, allowing bacteria to flourish. This leaves you vulnerable to tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Moreover, fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen your tooth enamel. Many toothpastes contain it for that reason, and because it also destroys bacteria in the mouth. In contrast, activated charcoal does not contain any fluoride. Finally, some experts contend that it’s best to stay away from products like charcoal toothpaste that have yet to be tested, noting that the American Dental Association has not approved of any charcoal whitening items.

The Argument for Charcoal

Even most critics of charcoal toothpaste concede that it does provide some benefits. While they don’t necessarily agree that charcoal whitens teeth, its ability to effectively remove surface stains is generally acknowledged. Surface stains are the kind of stains you get after drinking the likes of coffee or red wine, for example. As to whether or not it detoxes the mouth, that’s up for debate. Some dentists agree charcoal can certainly remove plaque and other food particles that cause bad breath, but not in a significantly better way than normal toothpaste.

“Activated charcoal can be used as a supplement to brushing with regular toothpaste for people who are seeking a whiter smile, but it cannot be used in place of it,” concludes cosmetic dentist Gregg Lituchy.

To learn more about the full range of teeth-whitening options, contact us at Texas Dental and set up an appointment today!

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