Activated charcoal has become a very popular ingredient in health products over recent years. We’ve noticed a huge interest in using activated charcoal in toothpaste, and as dental health professionals, we’re quite frankly not fans.
We strongly advise against the use of activated charcoal toothpaste. In this article, we’ll take the time to explain exactly what effects activated charcoal has on our teeth and why it’s so terrible for our long-term dental health.
Activated Charcoal Toothpaste
Activated charcoal is a natural ingredient that has long been used in many household products, such as air fresheners and fridge de-odourisers. It’s also used in medical applications to manage overdoses of poisons.
Lately, many toothpastes have been appearing on the market containing activated charcoal. It is often touted as an organic alternative to regular toothpaste.
One of the key selling points to activated charcoal toothpaste is the idea of emulating prehistory society – if something worked thousands of years ago, then it is better than our man-made modern solutions.
The earliest known instance of teeth care traces back to 5000BC, where historians believe that the ancient Egyptians made a sort of “tooth powder” out of ash. They used the powder as an abrasive and rubbed it onto their teeth with their fingers.
While we’re pretty excited to have this rare opportunity to talk about toothpaste history, this analogy should not be mistaken as a parallel for justifying the use of activated charcoal toothpastes.
Firstly, the diets of prehistoric humans are far too different from ours today. They didn’t have processed foods, refined foods, they didn’t eat every day and had much coarser diets too. The role of teeth and teeth care for our ancestors in 5000BC had very different requirements compared to us in 2017, which makes it a terrible reference to base dental decisions off.
Furthermore, like the “tooth powder” of ancient Egyptians, activated charcoal is highly abrasive. Abrasive toothpaste may seem like a good idea, but is a huge no-no for daily use.
There are much easier ways than using activated charcoal to take care of your teeth, read our blog post “5 Quick Tips on How to Brush Your Teeth Like a Pro”.
Activated Charcoal is Abrasive
This is hugely flawed because most people don’t actually have any teeth surface stains. Even if you think your teeth are yellow, that yellowy tinge is actually the natural colour of healthy teeth.
When you use an abrasive toothpaste like ones containing activated charcoal, it is scrubbing away the natural enamel that sits on the surface on your teeth.
Over time, you can brush away your enamel completely which will expose the dentine and leave your teeth more yellow. Without that protective enamel layer, your teeth will be weaker and more susceptible to dental problems like tooth decay.
Which Toothpaste is Best?
There is no chemical or high-pressure spray that can clean the sticky film of bacteria off your teeth. We use toothbrushes and interdental brushes to gently remove this bacteria from our teeth.
You might ask then, what do we use toothpaste for? The role of toothpaste is unlike soap, it’s not a cleaning agent. Toothpaste conveniently delivers fluoride to our teeth to make the enamel stronger, a bit like a moisturizing cream to make your skin stronger.
Fluoride is “nature’s cavity fighter” and helps to strengthen our enamel. Strong enamel means a safeguard against tooth decay and a lifetime of healthy teeth.
That’s why using toothbrushes and interdental brushes to remove bacteria, and toothpaste to reinforce our protective enamel, make a really great team to keep our teeth happy and healthy every day!
So the best toothpaste to use daily? It’s a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Abrasive particles, like activated charcoal, don’t belong in daily toothpaste. Save your money and your teeth by giving activated charcoal toothpaste a miss.
Have you been using activated charcoal toothpaste? You could be abrading away your teeth enamel and increasing your chances of tooth decay. Get your teeth checked today at Whitehorse Dental.