Charcoal Toothpaste: Is This For Real?
It won’t take you long on Instagram to find photos of people taking part in an alarming trend – brushing their teeth with activated charcoal! There are individuals and companies making claims that this somehow will give you a whiter smile, remove toxins and lift stains. Let’s get be very clear – there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that can back up these claims.
So what is activated charcoal? Basically it’s common charcoal (think: grilling hot dogs) that is heated along with a gas, making the charcoal more porous. Research published in the Journal of Physics: Conference Series states that brushing with activated charcoal increases the roughness of tooth enamel. This has the potential to make it easier for bacteria to stick to the surface of your teeth, possibly creating more cavities, more plaque problems and periodontal disease.
There are actually activated charcoal products out there with names like Carbon Coco, Black Magic, Active Wow, and others – in powder or toothpaste form. Our advice and position at this point is that there simply isn’t sufficient research available to determine whether these products or safe or effective. We discourage their use and recommend instead quality fluoride toothpastes approved by the American Dental Association. Besides, do you really want that black powder all over your bathroom counter. Yuk!