Is charcoal toothpaste safe for your teeth and gums?

Charcoal toothpaste has become more popular lately, with well-known brands like Colgate, Crest, Hello and Burt’s Bees entering the charcoal toothpaste market. Is charcoal toothpaste as effective as these brands claim? Is it safe for your gums?

Here’s everything you need to know to make the best decision for your gums and your smile:

What is charcoal toothpaste?

Charcoal toothpaste uses activated charcoal, which is a fine-grain powder made from wood, coconut shells, and other natural substances. Activated charcoal is highly absorbent, acting like a sponge, and is claimed to pull out toxins and lift stains from the tooth enamel (the surface layer of the teeth). 

Is charcoal bad for your teeth and gums?

Charcoal toothpaste is not a good idea. Charcoal is abrasive, and over time, it can wear down your enamel and gums. While charcoal toothpaste may appear to remove surface stains in the short run, it can cause your teeth to yellow over time and become more sensitive as it damages your enamel.

Your enamel has the critical responsibility of protecting the sensitive inner layers of your teeth. It protects your teeth from damage due to chewing, biting and grinding teeth. Enamel does not grow back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Preserving your enamel by avoiding abrasive materials and minimizing contact with sugary acids is key.

Similarly, charcoal is abrasive and harsh on your gums. Brushing with charcoal toothpaste can wear down your gums, leading to gum recession. Extreme cases of gum recession may require pinhole gum rejuvenation or periodontal plastic surgery to replace lost gum tissue, so it’s important that you aim to preserve your gum tissue.

The American Dental Association (ADA) does not currently approve of any toothpastes with activated charcoal. Our expert periodontal specialists at Periodontal Health Center do not recommend that you or your child use charcoal toothpaste, or any other abrasive ingredients, on your teeth. 

Is a charcoal toothbrush safe?

A charcoal toothbrush is a toothbrush that has bristles infused with activated charcoal. These bristles are typically attached to a wooden/bamboo handle. 

Charcoal bristles are believed to absorb bacteria and help prevent bad breath. However, like charcoal toothpaste, charcoal toothbrush bristles are abrasive and damaging to tooth enamel and gum tissue. Charcoal toothbrushes do not have the ADA’s seal of acceptance and therefore are not safe to use.

Is charcoal mouthwash safe?

Based on a study published in the National Library of Medicine, “There is insufficient evidence to substantiate the therapeutic and cosmetic marketing claims of charcoal-based mouthwashes, including antimicrobial activity, anti-halitosis, tooth whitening, periodontal disease control, caries reduction and tooth remineralisation, among others.”

In other words, there is not enough evidence to prove that charcoal-based mouthwashes provide any benefits for neither cosmetics nor health. Charcoal mouthwash is therefore unnecessary and damaging to your smile.

Try a mouthwash that has been approved by the ADA instead!  

Is charcoal floss safe?

Like charcoal toothpaste and charcoal mouthwash, using charcoal floss is a gamble. Charcoal particles can wear down enamel and make you more susceptible to tooth decay (cavities), tooth sensitivity and gum recession. Use one of these flosses with the ADA seal of acceptance instead!

What toothpaste is best for gums?

Yes! The ADA has approved a number of excellent toothpaste options for gum health and enamel strengthening:

Still have questions about charcoal or black powder toothpaste?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. Our experienced team at Periodontal Health Center team is here to help you achieve and maintain beautiful gum, a healthy mouth and a healthy body. 

At your first visit, we’ll customize a treatment plan that helps you to preserve, maintain or restore your smile. Ready to take control of your health? Schedule an appointment with us in New Port Richey or Tampa

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