Activated charcoal toothpaste and powders havebeen gaining popularity the past few years.Ads have been flooding social media.You may haveseentheYouTubevideos andthePinterest before and after photos.It hasbecome a true dental fad. Charcoal is not only a trend right now, but historicallyancient Romans used charcoal,amongst other products to clean teeth. As a dental hygienist, I get questions about charcoal toothpaste often. Does the toothpaste actually whiten the teeth? Does it help prevent gingivitis? Is charcoal toothpaste effective and safe to use?
Unfortunately,the answer is unclear on the effectiveness and safety of using activated charcoal toothpastes or powders. The Journal of the American Dental Association did a literature review of 118 articles and smaller studies done on charcoal and charcoal-based toothpastes. The conclusion was that there was insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy of charcoal and charcoal-based toothpastes. Larger-scale and well-designed studies are needed to establish conclusive evidence(Brooks, Bashirelahi, & Reynolds, 2017).
The Pharmaceutical Journalstates,therehave been no scientific studies published thatsupport the effectiveness of charcoal toothpastes in tooth whitening, oral hygiene and any claimed preventative effects(Greenwall & Wilson, 2017).
From information I have gathered from journal articles written on the subject, activated charcoal toothpastes are seemingly effective in removing surface stains from coffee, tea,redwine,etc.This is most likely due to the abrasive nature of activated charcoal.There has not been enough evidence to show thatactivatedcharcoal toothpastehas an effect onwhitening yellow teeth. Activatedcharcoal is characteristicallyabsorbent,however in the form of a toothpaste,it may be theabrasiveness that iscontributingtothe removal of the stain.
The abrasive nature of activated charcoal can be seen as a potential concernas well. Activated carbon ismore grainythan traditional pastes and can potentiallycause damage tothe teeth(Potts, 2018).There was not much information supporting gum health,howeversomereviewsclaimed that a side effect was gum irritation.There are a lot of positive claims and a lot of negative claims, yet no claim is supported by enough clinical evidence to be deemed as true.
In conclusion, we have to take this information lightly because there is not enough substantial evidence to support these claims.Because activated charcoal toothpastes and powders have grown in popularity, thereare a lot of companies makingthistypeproductright now and some may be putting harmful ingredients intothe mix.RDH magazine claims that some foreign brands of toothpaste may contain toxic ingredients.We must exercise caution when buying a product like this.Severalcharcoal toothpastes or powderson the market right nowdo not contain Fluoride,which is the key ingredient for cavity prevention. Ifyou’reusing a charcoal toothpaste without Fluoride, your dental professional may recommend supplementing with a Fluoride mouth rinse.
My recommendation would be to read the ingredients carefully when purchasingtoothpaste, especially if it is not from a reputable company. Becautious if using activated charcoal toothpaste or powderanddo not use itlong-term until more research has been publishedto support the safety and efficacyof the product.