Study Finds Charcoal Toothpastes Do More Harm Than Good

Knoxville DentistIt’s time to give charcoal toothbrushes the official brush off. A new study suggests the so-called teeth whitening products are nothing but a gimmick that may do more harm than good.

The new study published in the British Dental Journal examined 50 charcoal toothpastes to determine whether they lived up to their claims to whiten, strengthen and detoxify teeth.

The bottom line: Not one product whitened or detoxified teeth. In fact, they were found to be so abrasive, due to the charcoal, they may actually cause tooth decay — especially in patients with periodontal disease.

A Dangerous Waste of Money

This is not the first time charcoal toothpaste has come under fire.

2017 Journal of the American Dental Association study  also found “insufficient clinical and laboratory data” to support the safety or effectiveness of charcoal toothpastes.

“Not only is it not beneficial, but it’s potentially dangerous,” says Dr. Matt Messina of the American Dental Association.

Popular brands like ColgateCrest and Burt’s Bees sell charcoal “whitening” products averaging around $5 to $20.

But what’s worse than wasting money on a product that probably won’t work, however, is that the abrasive nature of charcoal may wear down tooth enamel and actually cause teeth to become more stained, and more vulnerable.

Risk of Wearing Away Tooth Enamel

One dentist recently compared the use of charcoal toothpastes to lightening a hardwood floor: You sand the surface down to the brighter under-layer, but you can only keep doing that until you run out of wood. Initially, the toothpaste may make teeth look a little whiter because they are abrading the surface enamel of the tooth. But the enamel is only a millimeter-and-a-half thick in certain spots, and your body doesn’t make any more of it. So when it’s gone, it’s gone.

And FYI: The inner layer of the tooth, the dentin layer, is yellow.

So rather than reach for a gimmick… save your money and see us for professional teeth whitening instead.