Do you believe me if I say that the ‘enamel’, the outermost layer of the teeth is the strongest tissue in your body? Surprisingly, yes, it is. The enamel is harder and stronger than even the bone tissue. As we all know tiny bacteria that cannot be seen to our naked eyes can eat the enamel away leading to dental decay. So, no matter how strong the enamel is, it can also get cracked, chipped off, and scraped off by external means.

We use toothpaste daily to maintain our dental hygiene. However, removing plaque is not the only thing that we should expect from a toothpaste. Fluoride is an essential element which strengthen the tooth enamel and helps to regain the lost enamel crystals. Therefore, the dentists always recommend buying toothpastes that contain fluoride. People however always want to look good not on the inside but on the outside. So, they expect more than hygiene from a toothpaste nowadays.

Black toothpaste or charcoal toothpaste was one of the most popular toothpastes which was used by even the celebrities to whiten their teeth. However, the magical charcoal toothpaste turns out to be a horrible monster due to several reasons.

Read on to know why.

It’s true that people used natural charcoal to brush their teeth long before toothpaste was invented and came into market. However, the charcoal in your toothpaste is not natural or regular. Regular charcoal is processed differently to activate them before it’s incorporated into toothpaste. Activated charcoal to whiten your teeth comes in different forms.

  • As a toothpaste
  • As a powder that you add or mix in with your regular toothpaste.
  • As capsules that you open and put in with your toothpaste or even
  • Charcoal toothbrushes are available in markets now

Does charcoal toothpaste whiten your teeth?

Well, it might. Activated charcoal is highly absorbent and used medically to absorb and remove toxins. So, it can theoretically remove surface stains on the teeth. But here’s what else it can do.

The enamel, the outer coating of the tooth is translucent. Your teeth get their natural color from the underlying dentine which is yellow in color naturally. As you age, the teeth stain either by the food and drinks we consume like coffee and vine or as a natural aging process.

Almost all toothpastes are somewhat abrasive. Abrasives in the toothpaste will act as a sandpaper and cut into the tooth and cause notching and erosion. But, activated charcoal is more abrasive which makes it unhealthier to use. What charcoal does is, it will scrape off the external stains using its abrasive nature and whiten the tooth temporarily. Thus, charcoal can never remove the internal stains of the teeth.

Why charcoal toothpastes are bad for your teeth?

  • Tooth sensitivity
    As we mentioned earlier, charcoal is abrasive. It can scrape off not only the stains but also the enamel if you use it regularly like any other toothpaste. With time the enamel gets damaged, and the thickness of the enamel is reduced. It will expose the dentine which has nerve endings that responds to pain and sensitivity. So, you will feel sensitivity whenever the exposed dentine contact with food and beverages with extreme temperatures, acids, and even a puff of air. Tooth sensitivity is something which disturbs your daily routine.  
  • Tooth decay
    Abrasion of the enamel will make the teeth more prone to decay creating an easy passage for bacteria to enter the tooth. Charcoal toothpastes don’t contain fluoride as well which makes the situation worse because fluoride is essential to repair the damaged enamel to avoid dental decay.
  • Irritation and redness of the gums
    The abrasive particles in the charcoal will also irritate the surrounding soft gum tissues with vigorous brushing and will cause redness due to irritation.
  • Weaken the teeth
    If the abrasion of the enamel goes on for a long time the teeth become weaker and brittle making them more prone to chipping, cracking and fractures. Fractured teeth may be painful and require root canal treatment or even tooth removal.
  • Stains the fillings
    Even though charcoal has some effect on whitening the natural tooth substance it cannot whiten the fillings on teeth. Instead, charcoal gets absorbed into the filling material and stain them black.
  • Unknown long-term effects
    Not knowing the possible consequences is the worst thing about using charcoal toothpastes. American Dental Association (ADA) says that there isn’t enough data to substantiate the safety and efficacy claims linked to charcoal toothpaste. Using charcoal occasionally under the guidance of your dentist might be okay without using it daily because we don’t know about the long-term effects.

So, make sure to be extra careful and thoughtful before you do something to whiten your teeth. Safest whitening always comes only with professional treatment or home care under professional guidance. Consumers should always choose toothpastes that contain fluoride if they need strong long-lasting teeth because incorporation of fluoride into your teeth is the best way to keep teeth strong and cavity free. Nothing will brighten your smile than having healthy teeth.