A lot of patients have been asking me about this charcoal toothpaste craze. I'm calling it a craze because one patient, ok, inquisition is good. Two. I thought, "are they both being targeted from social media advertisements?" Three, "ok this is weird, time to do some research!" So what does any good dentist do before search Google oneself? Group text their colleagues their opinion first!
Through peers I found out some basics and then dove into some research. Activated charcoal has become a DIY remedy for tooth discoloration. It is an ancient medical technique that has been rebirth to meet the demands of the tooth whitening industry. The ingredients in the charcoal product bind to the stains on the teeth and absorbs them and eliminate them from the tooth. However, charcoal can also absorb medications and bacteria that the body needs causing some undue harm. The charcoal will also not lighten the tooth like some of our whitening products do, it is essentially lifting the stain off. Not to mention, I am very concerned about the particle size and additives that could make the paste very abrasive to the teeth!
The safest, most well tested way to whitening your teeth is to brush and/or rinse after ingesting the staining agent, abstain from or limit the staining agent, see your dentist regularly for your routine cleaning and maintenance, and consider investing in our professional grade tooth whitening products or procedures. These are peroxide based and work through more of a diffusion process truly whitening and lightening the teeth, not just binding the stain.