Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are filled with health and beauty tricks, including those tips designed to help whiten and brighten your smile. One popular trend is the use of activated charcoal toothpaste as a way to remove stains and plaque from your teeth and improve the appearance of your smile. While the use of this product can help you achieve those goals. However, it can actually cause more damage to your teeth in the long run. At Laguna Vista Dental, our caring team is here to help you achieve the smile you want, and we are here to answer your teeth whitening questions, including answers about activated charcoal.
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is created when carbon-rich materials, such as coal, coconut shells, or wood, are burned at a very high temperature, creating a fine charcoal powder. This powder is very porous and acts like a sponge, pulling toxins and other particles to its surface. This highly adsorptive power is what makes activated charcoal toothpaste an option for teeth whitening.
How does charcoal toothpaste work?
Activated charcoal toothpaste works by targeting extrinsic staining on the teeth. This is the surface staining that occurs on the enamel, often as a result of smoking or drinking coffee or red wine. When you brush your teeth with activated charcoal, it absorbs the particles responsible for these stains, as well as plaque, bacteria, and food particles on the surface of your teeth.
Benefits and risks of charcoal toothpaste
While some people may see benefits from the use of charcoal toothpaste when it comes to tooth whitening and treating bad breath, there is no current scientific evidence to support that it is actually beneficial. In fact, regular use of charcoal toothpaste can actually cause more dental problems in the long run. To get a better perspective, take a closer look at the pros and cons of charcoal toothpaste.
If you are looking for an at-home option for whitening your smile, charcoal toothpaste is an option. Some benefits you may experience include:
- Removes surface stains: Stains in the enamel bond with the charcoal and making your teeth appear brighter and whiter.
- Removes accumulated plaque and freshens breath– Charcoal helps increase the pH level in the mouth because it binds with the acid found in plaque. This helps remove plaque and reduces bad breath odor.
While your smile might look a little brighter and your breath might smell a little fresher when using activated charcoal toothpaste, the reality is you are probably doing more damage than good. In fact, a British dental journal considers charcoal toothpaste to be nothing more than a marketing gimmick and finds no scientific evidence to back up its benefits, saying that the abrasive properties may actually cause tooth decay.
- Erodes healthy enamel: The abrasive properties of charcoal can damage the enamel of your teeth, exposing the inner dentin, increasing the risk of tooth sensitivity and dental complications.
- Increases the risk of cavities: When enamel breaks down, bacteria and plaque can easily enter a tooth, increasing your risk of dental cavities.
- Minimal fluoride: Most charcoal toothpaste does not contain the American Dental Association’s recommended levels of fluoride and can increase your risk of dental decay.
- Gum inflammation: Charcoal particles can settle between your gums and cause inflammation or damage to your gums.
Is charcoal toothpaste safe and effective?
While charcoal toothpaste is safe and can help you reduce those surface stains on your teeth every once in a while, it is not recommended for daily use as it can contribute to more serious dental complications. If you are looking to brighten and whiten your smile, there are many other safe and effective options that do more than just simply remove the surface stains on your teeth.
Professional cleanings and whitening treatments offer better and safer results.
If you are looking to improve the appearance of your teeth and your smile, the dental professionals at Laguna Vista Dental are here to help. In many cases, regular dental cleanings are enough to brighten your smile and improve the overall health of your teeth. Our office offers professional whitening treatments, a much safer and effective treatment option if you have severe teeth staining. It addresses the surface enamel stains and discolorations in the dentin layers of your teeth. To learn about how we can help you achieve the smile you are looking for, schedule an appointment online or call our office at (916) 684-3105 today.