Activated charcoal toothpaste is an alternative teeth whitening trend that is gaining in popularity. Recently, many patients have been asking about alternative or holistic teeth whitening, and activated charcoal is usually the first option mentioned. So the question is: can activated charcoal toothpaste replace the bleach that you get from your dentist?
Activated charcoal is a form of carbon that is processed to be very porous, giving it an extremely high surface area to volume ratio. This makes it highly adsorptive, causing it bind to many chemicals and bacteria. In theory, activated charcoal toothpaste should bind to plaque, bacteria, and stain, leaving your teeth white and your mouth clean.
There’s one problem with the theory: there’s not much evidence that it actually works. Since no studies have been done the only thing we have to go by is personal anecdotes. Searching the web reveals stories that claim it works and others that say it’s ineffective. However, even if it works, charcoal could only remove surface stains that are typically removed by your hygienist during a cleaning. In contrast, professional bleach brightens the color of the dentin, whitening teeth from the inside out.
In addition to its ineffectiveness, activated charcoal toothpaste has a lot of negatives. There are many known side effects, ranging from vomiting if swallowed to death if inhaled. Its abrasiveness it unknown, so it may rapidly wear your enamel when brushing. Lastly, it stains everything black and leaves an absolute mess. If you get any on your shirt, it’s probably never coming out. It even stains porcelain sinks and grout- extreme care has to be taken to spit it out in a disposable container. Some have also reported that the charcoal stains dental crowns. Imagine hoping to whiten your teeth, only to discover your one crown has turned black!
The safest and most effective way to whiten your teeth is still professional tooth bleaching. Enamor Dentistry offers Zoom! in office bleaching and trays that can be used for at home bleaching. If you are looking for a North Scottsdale dentist, please give Enamor Dentistry a call! Dr. Melander will help you determine what tooth whitening option is best for you.