Activated charcoal toothpaste has been somewhat glamorized online as the latest trendy way to whiten your teeth, prompting some of our teen patients and their parents to ask about it during their checkups and whether or not it is safe to use.
According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, there is no current evidence of efficacy and safety for use of charcoal toothpaste. There have not been any long-term studies on the safety of this material either. These toothpaste products did not report any disclosures with use of their material.
You always want to check and make sure that the FDA approves products and materials but also for dental products that it has the seal of approval from the ADA (American Dental Association). Although activated charcoal is approved by the FDA for removing toxins, poisons or medications accidental ingestion from the body, it does not mean it is always safe to use especially on a regular basis. Activated charcoal is a very porous material that is used to soak up toxins and is believed to do the same with stains on teeth. A big concern with using charcoal toothpaste on a regular basis is possible ingestion in small amounts or accidental ingestion with larger amounts with young children or adults. What does that do the body over time with ingestion? Does it interfere when taking medications? Will it make medications less effective?
Another big concern is that charcoal toothpaste is highly abrasive on teeth. There is a high possibility of the enamel, white outer protective surface, to wear away from highly abrasive materials. This will eventually lead to the second layer of tooth structure which is dentin to be exposed, this layer is typically more yellow in appearance and is more sensitive to air and cold water. Once the enamel is gone you can NOT grow it back. This toothpaste could also have negative effects on white fillings, permanent crowns or veneers. Charcoal toothpaste is also missing important ingredient for your teeth like fluoride.
There are much better options for whitening that are approved by the ADA and recommended by your dentist. See our previous post, Teeth Whitening for Children and Adults for more.
About Dr. Garol
Dr. Whitney Garol attended Galena High School, then the University of Nevada, Reno where she graduated with distinction, receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a minor in psychology. Dr. Garol graduated magna cum laude with a doctor of dental medicine degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine. Always having a passion for treating children, she decided to further her training with a pediatric dental residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. At one of the premier children’s hospitals in the nation, she received extensive training to provide excellent dental care to infants, children and adolescents. She is a board candidate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and active member of the American Academy of Pediatric Den