Why it’s Time to Give Charcoal Toothpastes the Brush Off

New research is trying to deter consumers from wasting their money on charcoal toothpastes, claiming the so-called teeth whitening products are nothing more than a gimmick.

The new review published in the British Dental Journal examined 50 charcoal toothpastes and determined that none of them lived up to their claims to whiten, strengthen and detoxify teeth.

Not only that, some were found to be so abrasive. Research from the Journal of Physics: Conference Series found that brushing with activated charcoal increases the roughness of tooth enamel, which can make it easier for bacteria to stick to the surface. That can put you at risk of greater plaque accumulation, more cavities, and even periodontal disease.

One dentist recently compared the use of charcoal toothpastes to lightening a hardwood floor: You sand the surface down to the brighter under-layer, but you can only keep doing that until you run out of wood. Initially, the toothpaste may make teeth look a little whiter because they are abrading the surface enamel of the tooth. But the enamel is only a millimeter-and-a-half thick in certain spots, and your body doesn’t make any more of it. So when it’s gone, it’s gone.

And FYI: The inner layer of the tooth, the dentin layer, is yellow.

Popular brands like ColgateCrest and Burt’s Bees sell charcoal “whitening” products averaging around $5 to $20.

Our advice? Don’t fall victim to the hype. Stick to the tried-and-true traditional toothpastes that work.

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Dentist In Pasadena, CA, Sean T. Ky DDS
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