Charcoal toothpaste: The Science so far?

Health & Fitness Charcoal toothpaste: The Science so far?

Charcoal is one of the biggest trends in the world of wellness and cosmetics. It’s become a trendy ingredient in commercial face masks and scrubs, and some people also swear by it for whitening their teeth.

Activated charcoal — the type used in beauty products and toothpaste — is a fine-grain powder made from wood, coconut shells, and other natural substances that are oxidized under extreme heat.

There are many charcoal toothpaste products available in the market today. It’s highly absorbent, and it’s used medically to absorb and remove toxins. But does it work for teeth whitening?

According to research done by a professor of dentistry at King’s College London, “charcoal toothpaste may be found to help remove external (extrinsic) staining on teeth without negative abrasive effects.” She adds that toothpaste containing charcoal may be most effective when used to delay the recurrence of surface staining on intact teeth after professional cleaning and polishing.

In a 2017 article with Linda Greenwall, a Private practitioner, in London, titled” Charcoal toothpaste: what we know so far” published in the Pharmaceutical Journal, the authors explained that Charcoal toothpaste is a recent innovation in the oral healthcare product market, and some pharmacies have started stocking them. The marketing campaigns for these toothpastes are fashionable, trendy, and different from those for other toothpastes. This marketing has enjoyed considerable success, encouraging the introduction of related products, including ‘charcoal toothbrushes’, which have charcoal incorporated into the bristles.

To date, there have been no scientific studies published proving the effectiveness of charcoal toothpaste in tooth whitening, oral hygiene, and any claimed preventative and halitosis-controlling effects.

Historically, charcoal, possibly together with chimney soot, was one of several materials used to clean teeth. Unlike materials such as salt, charcoal was not found to abrade teeth and had the added advantage, given its absorbent qualities, of helping to control halitosis. Charcoal is used in many countries in Africa to clean teeth because regular toothpaste is unavailable in rural communities.

Charcoal, especially when activated (i.e. combined with certain agents at high temperatures) has a high absorptive capacity. In the 1990s, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed activated charcoal for the treatment of poisoning and overdoses. Activated charcoal has been promoted for many different purposes, including ‘internal cleaning’, weight loss, reducing flatulence, and lowering cholesterol levels.

Charcoal toothpastes cannot be assumed to be regular toothpastes to which activated charcoal has been added. In formulating charcoal toothpaste, other agents may be added to enhance the tooth-whitening effect. Agents that help to remove dental plaque from teeth and increase the resistance of the tooth surface to carious (acid) attack, notably fluoride, may not be included because they will be absorbed by the charcoal, possibly reducing its whitening effect. Before purchasing a charcoal toothpaste, patients should consider its contents.

The effect of activated charcoal in toothpaste is a combination of relatively mild abrasion and absorption of tooth surface (extrinsic) stain. There is no evidence that the use of charcoal toothpaste affects the intrinsic (internal) staining of teeth or intrinsic whitening of the teeth. The effect of charcoal in toothpaste on materials forming fillings, crowns, and veneers is unknown. Charcoal-containing toothpaste may be found to be most effective when used to delay the recurrence of surface staining on teeth following professional cleaning (scaling) and polishing.

Particles of charcoal included in charcoal toothpaste may accumulate in crevices and other defects in teeth, including cracks in the teeth of older individuals. In addition, particles of charcoal may build up in gaps between dental restorations and teeth, resulting in a grey or black line around restoration margins with less than ideal-adaptation. Such negative effects on dental attractiveness may necessitate the costly replacement of the affected fillings, veneers, or crowns.

The charcoal included in charcoal toothpaste has not been found to have negative abrasive effects. There have been some suggestions that charcoal particles left in the mouth after brushing may have certain antimicrobial effects. However, the evidence for this is weak. Charcoal-containing toothpaste is black in colour and brushing off the colour tends to prolong brushing, or the use of excessive brushing force, which may lead to the abrasion of teeth.

In conclusion, they provided their views on charcoal toothpastes and reproduced herein:

  • Charcoal toothpaste may be found to help remove external (extrinsic) staining on teeth without negative abrasive effects, but the extent and rate of stain removal have not been reported.
  • Individuals interested in purchasing charcoal toothpaste should be encouraged to carefully consider the contents, or lack of certain important components, possibly fluoride, in the formulation of the paste.
  • The use of charcoal toothpaste may result in negative aesthetic effects, possibly necessitating the replacement of restorations with less-than-ideal adaptation, which acquire grey or black marginal charcoal staining.
  • Charcoal toothpaste may be found to be most effective when used to delay the recurrence of surface staining on intact teeth following professional cleaning and polishing.

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024