Within the past year, ads for charcoal toothpastes and powders have taken over the internet. They promise everything from whiter teeth to stronger enamel and healthier gums. You may be curious if this paste can add extra power to your home dental care. Read on to see our professional evaluation of this new dental craze!

The most common versions of charcoal dental products are "tooth powders" sold for whitening purposes. According to the manufacturer, brushing your teeth with these powders daily for two weeks can produce a significantly white smile. Unfortunately, the best these products can probably achieve is removal of surface staining through their abrasive properties. Activated charcoal is great at filtering organic compounds out of fluids. However, intrinsic dental staining (the deep stains that are unsightly and hard to remove) reside mostly in the dentin layer beneath the tooth's enamel shell. As you may imagine, it would be impossible for charcoal to have any benefit in this area. 

Charcoal dental products also advertise their ability to heal gums and strengthen dental enamel. Currently, there is no scientific evidence to back these claims. Most studies show no significant reduction in tooth decay or improved gum health between charcoal paste users and the general population. On the contrary, patients who opt for charcoal products will likely see a decline in their oral health versus someone who exclusively uses fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Fluoride toothpaste is internationally recognized as the gold standard for remineralizing dental enamel and preventing tooth decay. Why try to improve on what we know works?

In short, charcoal dental products should be used at a patient's own risk. They are (generally) sold as supplements and do not disclose active ingredients in the same way a fluoride toothpaste would. If you notice any changes or deterioration in your oral health, discontinue their use immediately. Additionally, keep using your fluoride toothpaste, floss and any rinses on a daily basis along side the charcoal products. As with any dental health topic, give us a call if you have any questions or concerns.