Charcoal has become a trendy ingredient in everything from face masks to baked goods to fresh-squeezed juices. The oral care industry is no different: charcoal-infused toothpastes have become extremely popular in Phoenix, AZ and the rest of the country. But is charcoal toothpaste safe to use?
Fans of the stuff claim it whitens teeth and freshens breath better than regular toothpaste, but new studies have raised questions concerning whether charcoal is actually doing more harm than good. Here’s what you need to know about whether or not charcoal toothpaste is safe to use.
What kind of charcoal are we talking about?
People obviously aren’t brushing with a barbecue briquette. The stuff in toothpaste is called activated charcoal—it’s the kind commonly found in water filters because it absorbs unwelcome substances and holds onto them. It’s also commonly used in Phoenix, AZ hospitals for the same reason, to treat emergency patients suffering from poisoning or drug overdose.
Is charcoal toothpaste safe to use?
While you’d think that charcoal’s cleansing powers would apply to dental hygiene, the truth is that studies show charcoal does little to prevent tooth decay. The absorptive quality of charcoal isn’t put to good use, since the charcoal doesn’t stay in the mouth long enough to do much good.
In fact, charcoal can do more harm than good, since it can break down and get stuck in tooth fillings or gums. It can also be abrasive and damaging to tooth enamel. Ironically, damaging your teeth’s enamel will make them far more likely to stain. So, does that mean charcoal toothpaste isn’t safe to use? Not necessarily—it just means it’s not all that helpful for dental hygiene.
Charcoal vs. fluoride
A bigger issue than charcoal’s damaging capabilities is the fact that it is usually used in place of fluoride in toothpaste. Fluoride is an essential component of having healthy teeth. It makes your enamel strong, and can even reverse tooth decay. If you drink fluoridated water and visit Modern Smiles Family Dentistry for regular checkups and cleanings, you should be getting enough fluoride for your teeth to be healthy, but it’s still not a good idea to totally replace fluoride toothpaste with charcoal.
Does charcoal detox your mouth?
Charcoal is especially trendy in health products for its supposed detoxifying capabilities. While a charcoal toothpaste can remove plaque and food particles from teeth, it won’t do a better job of this than any other kind of toothpaste.
Additionally, to use “detox” in the context of dental hygiene is misguided to begin with. Unlike your liver and kidneys, the teeth and gums don’t perform a detoxifying function in the body. Removing bacteria and protecting your teeth with fluoride is what brushing your teeth is for. Toxins don’t really come into the picture.
So, what kind of toothpaste should I use?
A regular toothpaste, preferably with added fluoride, is probably a safer bet than an activated charcoal-infused toothpaste. However, you are certainly free to use charcoal toothpaste as an addition to your regular dental hygiene routine. Be sure that this routine includes regular visits to the dentist. Schedule an appointment at Modern Smiles Family Dentistry in Phoenix, AZ by calling today!
Categorised in: Teeth Cleaning