Activated charcoal – which sounds cool but is basically the stuff you might burn in a barbecue pit with a bit of special treatment – is everywhere.
There’s charcoal detox lemonade, ice cream dyed with charcoal, charcoal hamburger buns, and even charcoal toothpaste to brush your teeth with after you’re done eating.
And charcoal has been with us for years; it’s nothing more than burnt peat, wood, coconut shells, or some other kind of organic material.
Across the centuries it has been used for its medicinal purposes, including as an all-purpose response to poisoning.
Today, taking advantage of that history, some people and companies are advertising it as toothpaste, claiming it has a particular ability to whiten teeth and absorb toxic substances from the mouth.
Does it work, and is it a suitable whitening and cleaning option?
At Deer Park Dental Surgery, we have answers!
Charcoal in toothpaste?
When most of us think about charcoal, we think about the product of burnt organics or perhaps art supplies. But there is charcoal that goes in food.
That is activated charcoal (common charcoal plus gas treatment), and it does have some medicinal value.
For instance, it is extremely useful for many types of poisoning due to its natural ability to absorb things.
Because activated charcoal has this quality of absorption, many trendy or new age products have begun to feature it for health.
This includes detoxing juices, skincare products, and toothpaste! And in fact, charcoal has been used for toothpaste, including by the Romans who also used crushed bones and oyster shells.
Why? Because of their abrasive effects. And that is one clue as to why charcoal toothpaste may not be a good idea.
Charcoal toothpaste may temporarily whiten teeth, but primarily it is busy wearing the enamel off your teeth.
Let’s take a look!
The Real Effects of Charcoal Toothpaste
The first point is that it doesn’t work as advertised. A literature review in 2017 analysed the contents of 118 articles and created a database of 50 charcoal toothpastes.
It found “insufficient scientific evidence to substantiate the cosmetic, health benefits (antibacterial, antifungal, or antiviral; reduced caries; tooth whitening; oral detoxification), or safety claims of marketed charcoal-based dentifrices.”
The study also found a real problem – many charcoal toothpastes lacked fluoride. Only 8% of the charcoal toothpaste studied contained it.
Fluoride can be dangerous in large doses, but when used in the doses found in toothpaste, fluoride can remineralise teeth to strengthen them and prevent tooth decay.
Further, scientists speculate that the benefit of fluoride might be cancelled out by the charcoal in it because its extreme absorptive ability might bind up the fluoride.
We’ve already mentioned the most significant problem about charcoal toothpaste – it can erode enamel. What is not so obvious is what that can lead to, future permanent staining and tooth decay.
As the enamel abrades, it eventually turns teeth darker as the underlying dentin is revealed. This erosion also makes the teeth more likely to suffer from cavities.
Finally, the erosive qualities of charcoal can also harm gums, leading to the possibility of gum disease.
In the end, if you have stained or discoloured teeth and want to make them brighter, you should turn to a dentist, not the Internet, for answers.
We can balance your needs, wants, and dental health to help you choose the best approach for your smile’s appearance and wellbeing.
Under our care, you’ll whiten your teeth both safely and efficiently, and with little muss or fuss, you’ll have a bright, healthy smile you’ll be eager to show off.
What Deer Park Dental Surgery can offer
We have two primary approaches to tooth whitening – Professional teeth whitening, which removes stain and discolouration, and veneers, which cover stains and discolouration.
Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin layers of porcelain shell that restore or improve the teeth’s natural appearance, including poor colouration or staining.
Veneers are particularly useful in the case of teeth that are resistant to traditional whitening techniques.
Deer Park Dental Surgery has two kinds of professional teeth whitening, At-home and In-office.
At-home teeth whitening uses custom-made trays that you use at home, daily, to hold gel on your teeth.
The treatment takes between 1 and two weeks and can be stopped when the desired results have been achieved.
At-home treatment can improve the shade of your teeth from 6-10 shades. The in-office treatment uses a whitening gel and a special light and only requires one treatment.
In-office treatment usually takes about an hour, and you leave our office with teeth that are up to 8 shades brighter.
The Deer Park Dental Surgery Difference
Deer Park Dental Surgery delivers outstanding patient care and customer service to the expanding community in Deer Park and its surrounds.
Our location is extremely convenient, in a busy medical centre in Brimbank Shopping Centre. We are also open on Saturdays, which cater to your family needs.
Parking is hassle-free.
GAP FREE Promotions for our New Patients
Comprehensive Check Up, Clean & X-rays (if needed)(with any health insurance)
To book an appointment, call us on (03) 9360 4417. We are located at T097a Brimbank Shopping Centre Neale Road in Deer Park.