If Santa puts coal in your stocking, maybe you can brush your teeth with it. You’ve probably seen videos on social media of people using activated charcoal in face masks, in health supplements and even in toothpaste! Some people advocate using activated charcoal due to its detoxification properties, but, just like many home remedies, there are pros and cons. We will take a look at both the pros and cons and then look at the recommendation from the American Dental Association.
Pros: The Benefits of Charcoal Toothpaste
Using charcoal toothpaste is a fad that has been gaining popularity because the people who have tried it say it is effective. Effectiveness in this instance is subjective, because a specific measure of how much whiter their smiles became and the time period improvement took is unavailable. Many people believe that charcoal toothpaste removes external stains from teeth and decreases active bacteria from their mouths. The charcoal toothpaste companies claim that their products remove discoloration without bleaching.
Cons: The Disadvantages of Charcoal Toothpaste
In addition to black stools and a discolored tongue, there are other disadvantage to using activated charcoal toothpastes.
Lack of Fluoride. Charcoal toothpaste can’t fully replace regular toothpaste, because it doesn’t contain appropriate levels of fluoride. Fluoride is recommended in toothpastes, because it fights dental decay and helps prevent root canal treatment.
Abrasiveness- The rough and abrasive consistency of charcoal toothpastes can abrade tooth enamel and damage gum tissue.
Medication Interaction- Charcoal may absorb medications that you are taking and decrease their effectiveness.
Constipation- Long term use of activated charcoal may increase intestinal blockages and constipation.
Time- Because of the many disadvantages of charcoal toothpastes, even those who love charcoal toothpaste report needing to use regular toothpaste after a charcoal treatment. Often, extra time is necessary to rinse the charcoal completely away and fresh your breath.
The American Dental Association’s View
The American Dental Association suggests avoiding staining foods such as wine, coffee, tea and tobacco products to keep a whiter and brighter. They also recommend brushing your teeth twice a day for two full minutes and flossing between meals to remove food debris. Regularly scheduled visits to your general dentist for cleanings, and consultations with your general dentist to discuss in-office teeth whitening processes will also support your healthy, and white smile. To whiten your teeth, the ADA recommend using a whitening toothpaste that carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance and flossing.