New research rejects benefits of trendy charcoal toothpastes
Charcoal toothpastes may be all the rage on social media, but a new study has rejected claims that they whiten the teeth and suggested that they may even do more harm to oral health than good.
A new review, which has been published in the British Dental Journal, claims that using charcoal toothpaste on a regular basis can increase the risk of enamel damage and tooth decay. There’s also very little evidence to support the fact they actually make any difference to the whiteness of the teeth.
Dental experts have urged the public to be wary of charcoal toothpastes and similar products advertised on sites like Instagram due to the fact that they often contain abrasive ingredients and they are free from fluoride. Fluoride is often added to toothpaste to strengthen the enamel and protect against decay. The researchers found that even when charcoal toothpastes do contain fluoride, the benefits may be sacrificed due to the fact that charcoal can deactivate fluoride.
The review involved 50 charcoal toothpastes, 8% of which contained fluoride. More than 50% of manufacturers claimed that their toothpaste offered “therapeutic benefits” and 30% claimed to “strengthen” the teeth. Almost all (96%) also stated their toothpaste had whitening properties.
Research conducted as part of the review indicated that the quantities of bleaching agent found in toothpastes and charcoal powders are too low to make any impact.
In addition to rejecting whitening claims, the review also suggests that using charcoal toothpaste could actually contribute to health risks due to the presence of chemicals that are found naturally in coal, oil and gasoline known as carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons.
The advice from researchers and dental professionals is to avoid charcoal toothpastes and to seek advice from your dentist if you’re looking for recommendations for a new toothpaste or information about effective, safe tooth whitening.