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Dentists give their two cents about the age-old debate with regards the safety of charcoal toothpaste for your dental care. This kind of charcoal toothpaste is known as activated charcoal, usually made from bone char, coconut shells, peat, coal, olive, sawdust, among others. Charcoal is majorly used to absorb toxins and treat poisoning and overdose. If it is to be used, it should be used to lightly graze the teeth to prevent scratching, chipping and other long-term damage which will subsequently be discussed.
While there may be excess publicity about the teeth whitening capabilities of charcoal toothpaste, it is not as wonderful as it is portrayed. This is because charcoal is a short-term solution with the ability to cause the teeth to look more yellow over time instead of whitening them. Regularly brushing your teeth, flossing and observing teeth care regimen will keep your teeth healthy for a very long time. For faster results, you can turn to teeth whitening solution with the guidance of your dentist.
Charcoal is abrasive and could damage the enamel when used frequently. According to Dr. Timothy Chase, a cosmetic dentist, using activated charcoal will cause more damage than the benefits the users seemingly feel it will give because it can have long-term negative effects like increased sensitivity and increased risk of tooth decay as the enamel becomes eroded gradually, revealing the inner dentin which has a natural yellow color. He continued that once the enamel (the outer layer of the teeth) is completely destroyed, it cannot be replaced again.
Dentists urge users to know that activated charcoal does not change the color of teeth that is excessively stained or naturally yellowing. Chase recommends using charcoal toothpaste (if you must) to remove only stains that are on the surface of the teeth but not for teeth whitening because an in-office or home whitening treatment can do the work.
People on medication are advised against swallowing charcoal toothpaste to avoid the risk of the toothpaste interfering with their medication. Those with exposed roots should always be wary of charcoal toothpaste as it can cause the exposed area to be extra sensitive.
It is important to note that a Seal of Acceptance has not been given to charcoal toothpaste by the American Dental Association (ADA) nor has there been any studies conducted on the long-term effects of using charcoal toothpaste; hence, there is no standard to say whether it is good or bad and you use them at your own risk. However, the fact that it has not yet been approved should be considered.
Finally, before falling victim to fads and trends, your safest bet is to use what has already been proven to work. In areas of doubt, you need to consult your dentist about the best method for your needs. More importantly, it is important that you make use of dental products that have the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance that can still give you the results that you seek.