Sparkle Dental Care

Pearly Whites With Charcoal Toothpaste, Does It Work?

July 17, 2018
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Posted By: Dr Kai Xu
Teeth Whitening | Sparkle Dental Care

Pearly Whites With Charcoal Toothpaste, Does It Work?

The internet is sprawling with posts touting the magic of charcoal teeth whitening. Photos of teeth covered with black paste paradoxically resulting in pearly whites are all the current rage! It’s not surprising then, that our patients have many questions regarding its effectiveness and safety. Here, we aim to answer some of those concerns.

What exactly is charcoal teeth whitening?

Charcoal whitening aims to whiten teeth using activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is a form of treated carbon, making its surface porous. This porous surface allows in theory, for the absorption of all sorts of particles. In the case of teeth, the absorption of staining, but also tartar and bacteria.

Activated charcoal is commonly purchased in a powder form but can also be found in some toothpastes.

Does activated charcoal actually whiten teeth?

Activated charcoal can assist in the removal of extrinsic stains, also known as surface stains. Surface staining includes but is not limited to stains from tea, coffee, red wine or tobacco. These stains lie on the outer layer of the tooth and can generally be removed by effective brushing techniques and scale and cleans at the dentist.

Intrinsic stains, however, the darkness which comes from within the tooth cannot be corrected with charcoal whitening. This form of staining can result from thinning of the enamel, past trauma to the teeth and even certain types of medications. Whitening of these teeth can only occur from bleaching treatments which penetrate into the teeth.

If you are considering teeth whitening please click here for more information or please feel free to contact us!

What are the concerns surrounding charcoal teeth whitening?

The predominant concern associated with charcoal whitening is its abrasiveness. Wear to the outer surface of teeth can be counter-productive to the whitening process. Not only can wear result in darker teeth, but damage to the enamel can also result in teeth sensitivity.

With the huge number of charcoal products up for purchase online; quality control also presents as an issue. What exactly is in the product you purchase? Is it activated charcoal? What is the percentage? What else is mixed in with the charcoal? Is there fluoride in the product? All relevant questions that should be asked, but difficult to find the answers too.

Although in theory charcoal whitening can assist in clearing superficial stains there is inadequate research to support its effectiveness and safety. With a plethora of equivalent proven products, whose safety is also assured; why take the risk.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.