The Truth About Charcoal Toothpaste | A Dentist's Opinion
Written By: Kane Sears, DMD
Charcoal toothpaste ads are now seen everywhere!
#charcoaltoothpaste 36.1K posts
@helloproducts 46.4k followers
You have all seen these posts: pretty girl or boy with a yellow shade of teeth. Then brushing with the black charcoal toothpaste to have a black tooth appearance. (which is actually very funny looking and catches the eye). They rinse the toothpaste off and BOOM! Whiter teeth! This sounds great and everyone wants whiter teeth so why not use charcoal toothpaste, especially if an influencer with over 100k followers uses it?
Some people are lucky enough to know a dentist such as myself and ask my professional opinion on products such as this. If you do not have such a luxury, this is for you, and here are my thoughts.
As a background to any new medical technology, my opinion is two fold.
1. I want to see clinical data coming from randomized controlled trials to support the product.
2. I am also open to peoples’ innate beliefs and the fact that medicine and technology do change overtime. So just because there is a study saying one point of view now doesn’t mean that will always remain true. With that being said, don’t believe every study you see. Some studies are created by companies to sell their product.
With that, my take home point is that charcoal toothpastes are not proven to be effective toothpaste for the overall health and whitening of your teeth. It is a fad, a trend, and a huge marketing campaign for these toothpaste companies.
The charcoal is used as a detoxifier; which is a great property to have for your oral health, in theory. My biggest concern is the data. There are not enough randomized controlled trial studies to prove the benefits of using charcoal toothpaste. This comes to opinion #2. New studies and advancement of medicine could change this, but as of now there is not enough evidence showing true benefits.
“The Journal of the American Dental Association analyzed more than 100 articles on charcoal and charcoal-based toothpastes and powders and determined there was “insufficient clinical and laboratory data” to support charcoal toothpaste’s safety or effectiveness, and warned dentists and patients to “be cautious” in using them.”
- A statement from the American Dental Association
The American Dental Association will recognize quality products with a seal of approval. If a product has this ADA seal it means it has been proven to clinically benefit the patient. As of now, no charcoal toothpaste warrants the seal. My recommendation is to stick with toothpaste that has the proper testing and approval.
As for the whitening effect, charcoal does not actually whiten teeth. It removes surface stains just like other toothpastes. If you are looking to whiten your teeth, I recommend a peroxide product or a conversation with your local dentist.
Charcoal toothpastes, if used improperly or if the brand has the wrong grit size, can actually damage the teeth by abrasively removing the protecting layer of the tooth, called enamel.
In conclusion there is not enough evidence to prove the benefits of charcoal toothpastes but this could change with more research. Just be careful what you see advertised, especially in the world of social media.
- A link to another literature review with this conclusion: “The results of this literature review showed insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy claims of charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices. Larger-scale and well-designed studies are needed to establish conclusive evidence.”
A topic for the next discussion will be the debated fluoride topic. Some companies advertise fluoride is good for the teeth and some say they want all natural no fluoride. What’s up with that? My thoughts coming next.
Kane Sears, DMD