Is Charcoal Toothpaste Actually Bad For Your Teeth?

Charcoal toothpaste may be a hot trend right now, but new research suggests it could be a waste of money; and, in fact, a waste of teeth as well. Apparently, this new study suggests that not only is there is a complete lack of evidence that charcoal toothpaste is more effective at whitening your teeth than regular toothpaste, but it could actually increase your risk for tooth decay. 

The claim is that dental products containing charcoal will naturally draw the toxins out of your gums while removing stains on your teeth. Experts form King’s College London and the University of Manchester, however, argue that these specialty toothpastes actually lack a very important ingredient that keeps your mouth healthy. 

As a matter of fact, charcoal toothpaste does not, typically, contain fluoride.  And fluoride, of course, is an important element that destroys plaque and helps stop tooth decay. 

According to scientists, the black color these products are famous for is nothing more than “marketing gimmicks and folklore.”

Indeed, study author Dr. Joseph Greenwall-Cohen explains, “The problem is that there are so many celebrity endorsements and social media posts about these products, but the claims made about them are unsupported by the evidence.”

Greenwall-Cohen goes on to say, “The high abortive nature of charcoal limits the amount of active fluoride in the toothpastes required for prevention of dental decay. Additionally, the ‘whitening effect’ of the toothpaste is limited to removal of staining and may be no more than the whitening effect of any regular toothpaste.”

In fact, a study in 2017 found that only eight percent of charcoal dental products actually contain fluoride.  Additionally, while these charcoal products might rub away some stains, they can also wear away your teeth at the same time. 

Now it is important to note that charcoal has been successfully used medically for some time. Historically, ingesting charcoal has been known to relieve gas and other digestive issues.  Today we use activated charcoal—a form of charcoal processed into a very fine powder—as a poison intervention as it can stop ingested poison from reaching the bloodstream.

So charcoal can have some health benefits. Unfortunately, as this study investigates, it may not be so beneficial for your teeth. 

The results of this study have been published in the British Dental Journal.

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