I’m guessing the toothpaste sitting on your bathroom counter is probably white or white with some sort of green or blue lines running through it, am I right? If we’re getting real crazy, it’s a mint green, or if you’re one of those people like likes the orange flavor (ugh, can’t do it), it’s a pale, almost creamsicle orange. But is it black like charcoal? Yep, like those face masks that you use to detox your face or clear our your pores, the ingredient has made its way into dental products.
So what’s the catch? What’s the benefit of using a toothpaste (or a toothbrush for that matter!) made with charcoal? I turned to cosmetic dentist, Dr. Gregg Lituchy for some pro answers.
"Activated charcoal can be used as a natural teeth whitener and this, too, is a growing trend that is gaining popularity in the dental field. It can successfully pull toxins and tannins (teeth-staining culprits in coffee, tea, and wine) and remove them from teeth leaving a whiter, brighter smile,” he says.
A little boost to my pearly whites? Interesting.
And like I mentioned before, brands are jumping on it. Curaprox is a dental brand that makes whitening toothpaste with the star ingredient and is designed to “pull” the stains from your teeth. Another brand, Binchotan, as the ingredient blended into the bristles.
While he credits the possibility of whitening, he says if your teeth are naturally darker or yellow, you may need to invest in an in-office treatment.
However, there’s also mixed reviews...
Dr. Maged Malecki, DMD, owner and dental director of Boston Dental, says that there isn’t enough evidence that it is completely effective in whitening, is safe, or doesn’t damage tooth structure and gum health—and at their practice, they don’t promote the use of it.
"In addition, we do not know how pure the charcoal is that is used in these products and if there can be any effects to your health," Dr. Malecki notes.
Besides the lack of evidence, Dr. Malecki and Dr. Lituchy both say that it does not give your teeth the fluoride that fights off tooth decay and cavities.
If you are interested in learning more about it, it's always best to talk to your dentist about the trend and the products you're interested in testing out. They'll help steer you in the right direction!