Charcoal toothpaste may promote tooth decay


Charcoal “whitening” is the latest fad over social media -a myriad of charcoal toothpastes/tooth powders are available, their packaging misleading in terms of “eco-friendly” or “antimicrobial” properties, as there is no scientific proof to back these claims, report agencies.

While limited research data pits the safety and effectiveness of charcoal toothpaste against alternatives, small studies have found that charcoal may be too abrasive to tooth enamel, exposing interior tissue and increasing the risk of tooth decay.

Dr. Joseph Greenwall-Cohen of UK’s University of Manchester Dental School, who co-authored a paper on the subject, encourages the use of regular toothpaste– charcoal toothpastes could exacerbate gum disease or other oral health problems for the uninitiated.

American Dr. John Brooks from the University of Maryland’s School of Dentistry in Baltimore has explained that charcoal toothpastes are neither capable of detoxification nor fortifies/ remineralises/ strengthens tooth structure in any way. Dr. Brooks has done research of his own, and has concerns about the chronic exposure of the oral tissue to charcoal, in addition to charcoal’s classification as a carcinogen.

Fluoride is the key ingredient when looking for toothpastes. Plenty of research has found brushing with fluoride-containing toothpaste can promote oral health whilst preventing tooth decay and cavities. Dr. Brooks accedes, saying: “None of the charcoal toothpastes would likely offer any cavity-fighting potential any more than non-fluoride toothpastes.”