Charcoal is a multifaceted product that has been taking the health industry by storm. It can be found in a multitude of beauty products such as lotions, soaps, face masks, toothpaste, and even cosmetics.
“Activated” charcoal is typically made up of petroleum coke, olive pits, coconut shells, peat, sawdust, or bone char. Charcoal is produced with temperatures as high as 1,470°F that transforms its structure to enlarge the surface area by creating small pores which then function as magnets to draw in all types of impurities.
For centuries, the health benefits of charcoal have been known, though it has only been recently that consumer products containing the substance have gained popularity. For instance, charcoal has been used as an antidote for drug poisoning. This practice dates back to the 1800s!
Charcoal’s benefits include helping to keep kidneys in working condition, reducing cholesterol levels, and being used as a popular skin treatment for acne.
Even though activated charcoal is considered safe in the previously mentioned instances, patients should know that the successes of these treatments have been known to vary from person to person.
If you’ve been online lately, you might have seen an ad pop up of a big white smile promoting a brand of natural charcoal toothpaste. Seeing the black substance being brushed all over their teeth can be off-putting, but once black charcoal toothpaste is rinsed off, the teeth appear whiter than before. So, does it really whiten teeth or is it a waste of time and money?
The fact is, charcoal toothpaste
has not been concluded to be a healthy or safe way to obtain a whiter smile at home. Instead, it has been shown to cause more harm to your teeth than other at-home products. Additionally, it hasn’t received the Seal of Acceptance from the ADA (American Dental Association). The Journal of the ADA concluded that there is “insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy claims of charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices.”
So, what is so bad about using this kind of toothpaste? Due to its rough nature, charcoal scrubs away the tooth’s enamel, exposing dentin and increasing tooth sensitivity
. Tooth enamel isn’t able to regenerate itself once it’s been worn away, so it is vital to take care of your enamel. Charcoal toothpaste can also lead to a heightened danger of tooth decay.
For patients still opting for at-home teeth whitening, several safe options are effective. In-office whitening sessions work, as well as certain peroxide-based whitening products such as fluoride toothpaste and Whitestrips.