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Buyers Beware: Activated Charcoal Can Cause More Harm Than Good

While charcoal-derived teeth whitening products and trends have been around for some years, they’re beginning to make waves once again. Using activated charcoal to whiten your teeth may seem like an amazing solution, but the truth is that users need to be extremely cautious when using these types of products.

If you’ve been tempted by social media to buy into the hype, then let your McAllen dentists at WhiteWing Dental give you the low down on the activated charcoal trend.

What Is Activated Charcoal Toothpaste?

Activated charcoal is a fine-grained black powder made from a variety of natural substances such as wood, peat, coconut shell, petroleum or coal. The charcoal is then exposed to a special gas that allows it to become more absorbent.

Activated charcoal toothpastes not only contain the substance but can also include a number of other ingredients such as coconut oil or baking soda. However, one of the major issues is that these charcoal products often do NOT contain fluoride. Fluoride helps to prevent cavities by helping to harden the enamel on baby and adult teeth before they emerge, while also helping to harden the enamel on adult teeth that have already emerged.

Suffice to say, without fluoride, charcoal-based toothpastes can be causing more harm than good.

What the Science Says

A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association showed that there was “insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy claims of charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices.”

The authors of the study searched through MEDLINE and Scopus databases for clinical studies focusing on the use of charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices and laboratory investigations. They also selected 50 charcoal-based products from Google and Amazon to study the products and to uncover if they accomplished what their advertisements promised.

The study went on to say that better and more effective research needed to be conducted in order to validate the truth about activated charcoal toothpastes.

It was also noted that “dental clinicians should advise their patients to be cautious when using charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices (products) with unproven claims.”

Another article published in the British Dental Journal noted that “the claimed benefits of charcoal dentifrices are outweighed by the anticipated adverse effects.”

Possible Health Risks Associated With Charcoal-Based Toothpastes

There are a number of issues and concerns that users of activated charcoal toothpastes can suffer from. To begin with, users generally do not know how strong the charcoal supplements may be. This can result in users applying extremely abrasive products to their teeth, leaving their tooth enamel vulnerable to sensitivity and cavities.

Excessive brushing with charcoal-based toothpaste can also increase the risk of chafing and may not even actually help to whiten teeth.

Another problem caused by activated charcoal-based toothpaste/powders is that for people with fillings, the product can get caught in the gums and cause irritation. This can lead to oral health issues that affect your gums and enamel.

Some of the larger possible health risks are related to the possible inclusion of human carcinogen polyaromatic hydrocarbons and the use of bentonite clay in some charcoal-based products.    

Reconsider Using Charcoal-Based Toothpastes. Instead, Trust Whitewing Dental to Deliver the Results You Want.

Before you go out and purchase activated charcoal to whiten your teeth, you’ll want to talk first with the experienced McAllen and La Feria dentists of WhiteWing Dental about other legitimate options.

At WhiteWing Dental we offer plenty of cosmetic dentistry services, including dependable teeth whitening services. Don’t risk hurting your teeth, trust in WhiteWing Dental to keep your smile gorgeous and healthy.   

Contact WhiteWing Dental today at (956) 686-5577 to schedule an appointment.