As a society, we continue to turn toward natural and organic products to help us live our best lives. People interested in living chemical-free lives are looking for suitable replacements for everything from deodorant to toothpaste. And it’s no wonder; it’s getting harder and harder to trust big corporations who claim their products are safe when all the evidence against them says that they aren’t.
One natural ingredient that has become popular in the last few years is charcoal. Experts in the health and wellness industries have a variety of uses for activated charcoal, including in toothpaste. While it doesn’t look appetizing, there are many benefits to using it. But is it safe? As with most things in life, it depends on who you ask.
Bart G. Christiansen, a Centennial dentist practicing at Christiansen Dental says, “The type of toothpaste you use matters. Not all toothpastes are created equal. It’s important to pay attention to the ingredients list and understand where the product is coming from. Although some people don’t brush with toothpaste at all and use homemade pastes with ingredients such as baking soda, regular visits to your dentist will help you maintain good oral health and understand whether or not your brushing and flossing regime are working to keep your teeth and gums healthy.”
Understanding Activated Charcoal as a Toothpaste Option
Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of using activated charcoal so you can decide if it’s something you want to try. Before we get into that, let’s talk about the ingredients that are found in activated charcoal. A number of combinations exist, but the most popular one is a grainy, dark powder made from certain types of wood, coconut shells, and a variety of other natural ingredients that have been cured and oxidized under extreme heat. The heat releases the natural agents in the ingredients and makes it suitable for cleaning your teeth. If you can get past the very dark color of the paste on your teeth, you might find it’s a good option for you to help brighten your smile.
What Can Activated Charcoal Do for Your Teeth?
The charcoal is an abrasive substance that will, for all intents and purposes, clean your teeth. It has been known to whiten teeth over time as well because of its abrasive nature. It scrubs away surface stains. The truth is that we haven’t been using activated charcoal long enough to know whether it has any long-term effects on our health and wellness. People who use it tend to be the first to defend its high-quality results, though.
An interesting thing to consider is that the abrasive nature of activated charcoal toothpaste makes it too strong for everyday use. It’s something that you should plan to use only a few times a week. The enamel of your teeth is very sensitive and can be worn down quickly with repeated abrasive action.
Know the Ingredients and What’s Missing
If you are going to use charcoal toothpaste, be sure to subsidize that use with a fluoride treatment. Although nearly all North American toothpastes have fluoride in them, natural toothpastes do not always include them. Fluoride helps to keep your teeth healthy and protect them against disease and infection.
If you have dentures or veneers, it’s not known whether or not the activated charcoal will cause problems or stain those materials overtime. Don’t forget, activated charcoal is very dark and while it may be flavored to take the edge off, it doesn’t taste very good either.
Deciding for Yourself
The question of safety around the use of activated charcoal is not clear. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough information about it. Even though it’s natural, it’s being used in a way that we are not familiar with and we don’t have a lot of history on it yet.
Whenever you buy something “natural,” it’s important to do your homework on the ingredients. Commercial toothpastes are not all created equal, but they are regulated and there are steps taken to ensure the safety of those products for everyday use.