Does Brushing With Charcoal Toothpaste Help Whiten My Teeth?

by | Sep 12, 2022

Brushing with Charcoal Toothpaste

This is a question our dental team hears a lot. Activated charcoal is having a moment as a hyped-up ingredient in the wellness space. Whether it’s facemasks, soaps, or toothpaste, it’s everywhere. Some influencers swear by it when it comes to whitening their teeth. So it’s no surprise that patients are curious if there are real benefits of brushing with charcoal toothpaste.

Activated charcoal is made from oxidized wood, coconut shells, and other natural substances. They are heated at extreme temperatures to create this fine black powder. It is very porous and said to help absorb toxins. Emergency rooms sometimes use activated charcoal for drug overdose cases. However, even in an ER setting, use is limited. Emergency teams must use activated charcoal within the first hour and, only in the case of certain types of overdose. 

Long-Term Effects Of Activated Charcoal

Dentists feel there is not enough about the long-term effects of activated charcoal. They were warned in a 2017 review to advise patients to use caution when it comes to brushing with charcoal toothpaste. This is because there are still a lot of unproven claims and safety concerns. 

What is known is that there is some evidence that links brushing with charcoal toothpaste to increased tooth decay. Charcoal toothpaste is too abrasive to use on a daily basis. Overly abrasive toothpaste ingredients are not good for your teeth because they can wear the enamel down. This can actually make your teeth look more yellow and LESS white. Sometimes the charcoal itself can cause stains, as the tiny particles of charcoal get stuck in tiny cracks and crevices of older teeth. This is because dentin, a calcified yellow tissue is exposed as the enamel wears down. Not only that but the teeth can become more sensitive to temperature. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that many charcoal toothpaste brands don’t contain fluoride. Fluoride is very important for keeping tooth enamel strong. Strong enamel is essential for protecting your teeth against cavities and tooth decay. 

Activated Charcoal And Dental Restorations

Dentists do not yet know what kind of effects activated charcoal has on dental restorations. They feel that more needs to be learned about how the materials that are used to make veneers, bridges, crowns, or fillings are impacted by charcoal. The tiny grains of charcoal can build up in between these fixtures. This can leave behind a black or grey outline.

Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Stains

In order for a product to be successful as a whitening agent, it needs to be able to work on both surface stains, but also intrinsic stains. These are stains that are below the surface of the enamel. When it comes to stains on the teeth, common causes are varied. Certain foods and beverages such as tea, coffee, red wine, or tomato sauce can all stain the teeth. Another big cause of stains is when a person either smokes or chews tobacco. Not brushing or flossing properly, or skipping teeth cleanings can also cause food stains to build up over time. Certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy can also cause discoloration. Some medications such as antihistamines can discolor teeth too. 

Treatments For Stains

If a person sustains certain injuries to the mouth it can cause teeth to be discolored as well. Other times discoloration of the teeth is part of the aging process. As we get older the enamel wears away, exposing the yellow dentin beneath. While fluoride is very beneficial for preserving enamel, too much can cause white spots on the teeth known as fluorosis. Stains on the teeth can be either intrinsic or extrinsic. Extrinsic stains are only on the surface of the enamel. They can usually be removed through brushing or professional tooth cleaning by your dentist. Intrinsic stains sit below the layer of enamel and are more difficult to remove. In order to reach these stains, you need to use bleaching agents that can under the enamel. Treatments like these can only be done in dental clinics. 

Activated Charcoal & Stain Prevention

You can prevent stains by flossing and brushing daily. We recommend brushing for 2 minutes, twice per day. Cutting out foods and drinks that cause stains can be a big help. Eliminating drinks like colas, red wine, tea, and coffee can make a big difference. If you do drink these types of beverages, use a straw. You can also drink water to help rinse your mouth out after eating something that would normally stain your teeth. Quitting smoking is another way to prevent stains. This has so many benefits not just for your oral health, but for your whole body. Chewing a piece of sugarless gum after meals can help to neutralize acids in the mouth, protecting your enamel. Eating foods that are high in fiber such as leafy greens or spinach can help your body produce more saliva. This can also protect the teeth’s enamel. 

Home Remedies For Whitening Teeth

Be careful before trying home remedies on your teeth. There are a lot of Instagram influencers and Pinterest tutorials that use misleading or altered images to make results seem more dramatic than they actually are. If you can’t find solid research that backs up the effectiveness of these remedies, it’s best to avoid them. The health of your mouth influences the health of your entire body, so taking risks with your oral health is not worth it. 

Tooth Whitening

If you are interested in whitening your teeth, there are several safe and effective methods that are actually endorsed by the American Dental Association. The best place to start is to consult your dentist about what whitening services and products they have available. Many Dentist offices offer in-office whitening treatments. Or they have special whitening kits that you can take home.  If you are looking for something affordable or over-the-counter that you can use between visits, ask your Dentist which whitening toothpaste and whitening strips they would recommend. When choosing teeth whitening products, look for ones that have the ADA seal of acceptance. Products that contain the ingredients blue covarine or hydrogen peroxide are also great options. These whitening technologies have been demonstrated to be effective through research. A 2019 study compared whitening toothpaste with activated charcoal and found the former to be most effective.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, there is just not enough evidence to support that brushing with Charcoal toothpaste can help whiten teeth. Save the activated charcoal for the artisanal ice cream shop up the road. When it comes to products that effectively whiten teeth, trust your dentist and the American Dental Association instead.

Convenient Dentist Offices in Southern California

Doctor Sam Shahovesi and the team at City Dental Centers are here to provide our patients with the best dental services and dental surgeries for children and adults of all ages. From toddlers to seniors, City Dental Centers offers six convenient dentist offices in Southern California. We even have a dedicated children’s dentist office, City Dental Kids & Braces, to cater to the special physical and emotional needs of children.

Whether you need checkups, x-rays, braces, bonding, teeth whitening, sealants, oral cancer screenings, root canals, crowns, bridges, implants, or tooth extraction, City Dental Centers is here to make the process as easy and comfortable as possible. If you’re looking for a quality dentist that won’t break the bank, give your local City Dental Center a try today.

Contact The Nearest Dentist to You

Ready to experience the best dentists in Los Angeles? Choose one of the convenient dental offices we have surrounding LA. We have dental practices in Azusa, Corona, Lake Forest, Montclair, Pico Rivera, and West Covina. You can call our main line at (888) 624-8933 or reach out to an office directly with the information below. Alternatively, you can visit our new patients & first visits page for more info. We’re so happy you’ve chosen City Dental Centers. We can’t wait to help you along your dental journey and brighten your beautiful smile!

Dentist in Azusa, CA

Location: 483 S. Citrus Ave. Azusa, CA 91702
Phone: (626) 966-3400

Dentist in Corona, CA

Location: 161 McKinley St. STE 102, Corona, CA 92879
Phone: (951) 737-3746

Dentist in Lake Forest, CA

Location: 24602 Raymond Way #210, Lake Forest, CA 92630
Phone: (949) 461-5800

Dentist in Montclair, CA

Location: 5182 Moreno St, Montclair, CA 91763
Phone: (909) 295-3477

Dentist in Pico Rivera, CA

Location: 9400 Whittier Blvd, Pico Rivera, CA 90660
Phone: (562) 949-2526

Dentist in West Covina, CA

Location: 154 Plaza Dr, West Covina, CA 91790
Phone: (626) 962-1722