Charcoal Toothpaste

Charcoal Toothpaste

Activated charcoal toothpaste appears to be a fast-growing trend in natural oral healthcare. A few of my patients have asked about it, so I decided to address the topic. Charcoal is a fine powder made up of the likes of ground coconut shells and wood oxidized under extreme pressure. It does have the ability to remove surface stains from things like red wine and coffee. It is a naturally detoxifying substance and raising the oral pH balance, reducing acidic plaque. But, in my opinion, the positive attributes end there.

I do not recommend using charcoal toothpaste and I issue a caution if you choose to. While it is mildly abrasive and able to remove surface stains, it is not proven as a tooth whitener and effects of long term use are unknown. Charcoal toothpaste, if overused, can wear down tooth enamel (which cannot be replaced); it can stain older teeth, veneers, restorations, bridges, crowns and porcelain fillings. Charcoal toothpaste can make teeth look more yellow by exposing the dentin, making teeth more sensitive.

If you are still not convinced, I am happy to discuss some better options such as adding baking soda to your regular toothpaste, an in-office tooth whitening or a prescribed at-home tooth whitening. Charcoal toothpaste is a trend I do not recommend. The benefits do not seem to outway the risks.


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Jon C. Ellison, D.D.S.


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