Perhaps you have noticed that there are some new choices when it comes to toothpastes. Charcoal toothpaste is currently one of the biggest trends, found in the toothpaste aisle alongside your old favorites. This trendy beauty ingredient is now available in in commercial face masks and scrubs as well. The whole industry is singing the praises of charcoal. But does it really work?
Activated charcoal is a fine grain powder made from natural substances such as wood, coconut shells, and other sources that are oxidized under extreme heat. Charcoal is highly absorbent and used medically to absorb and remove toxins. However, its use as a whitening toothpaste is still relatively new.
It is true that activated charcoal in toothpaste may help remove surface stains on your teeth. Also, since charcoal is mildly abrasive it can help remove tartar and mild stains when brushing. However, there is no evidence that charcoal toothpaste has any effect on stains below a tooth’s enamel, or that it has a natural whitening effect.
To be truly effective in whitening, a toothcare product needs to work on stains on the surface, as well as intrinsic stains, which are those below the enamel—and in that sense charcoal toothpaste does not meet the criteria for “whitening” in our opinion.
However, all evidence currently is that charcoal is safe to use on teeth in small doses and does provide some level of “cleaning” when used as directed. Since more research is needed on the long-term effects of charcoal toothpaste, many dentists are still hesitant to recommend it.
1) Charcoal toothpaste is too abrasive for everyday use. Charcoal is a mild abrasive—but still really too abrasive for daily use and could cause damage to the enamel of the teeth. This could cause your teeth to look more yellow and become sensitive.
2) You really want should use fluoride. Fluoride helps keep your tooth enamel strong, in turn, protecting your teeth against cavities and decay. Many charcoal options do not have fluoride.
3) Staining could occur. Charcoal particles can get caught in the small cracks of teeth and leave teeth grey or black around the edges. This could produce the opposite effect to what you are looking for!
4) The many unknowns. Since charcoal toothpaste is still a new product, the long-term effect on teeth and dental restorations such as veneers, or bridges for example isn’t known.
Despite the popularity of charcoal toothpastes, be cautious if you want to try this trend. While it may help to remove some surface stains, the long-term effects are still unknown. If you have questions and would like to discuss this with a dentist, we are happy to consult with you on this and any of your other dental questions in our Reno dental office. Give us a call today at O’Gara Dental Care.
If you’re unhappy with your smile because of decay or dark fillings in your teeth, you may be a good candidate for composite resins, or tooth colored fillings.
Tooth-colored fillings are made of a blend, or “composite,” of plastic resins and silica fillers. These substances mimic many of the qualities of natural tooth structure, Composite resins represent several advantages over traditional silver, or amalgam, fillings.
Because composite resins are not the old metal fillings, we can blend and mix shades to find the perfect color to match your natural teeth. Another advantage is that the tooth/composite bond supports the remaining tooth structure, deterring breakage. Medium and small composites can last 7 to 10 years – just as long as metal amalgams. Best of all, composite resins allow us to keep more of your natural tooth structure intact than amalgams. We believe in taking a conservative approach to your dental care – the more natural tooth structure you keep, the better teeth you’ll likely have in the future.
The best way to determine whether tooth-colored fillings are right for you is to schedule a dental consultation. Call us today for an appointment.