Charcoal toothpaste has become increasingly popular, but a new study warns that it's not all it's cracked up to be.
is found to be ineffective in achieving its promised benefits. However, the trendy toothpaste could actually be harmful to the teeth with potential risks such as tooth decay, discoloration, and irritation, among others.
New Research Cautions Consumers Against Charcoal Toothpaste
The fad surrounding charcoal toothpaste has grown as various brands and personalities claim that it helps clean the teeth, whiten it, and reduce tooth decay
. Some products are even hailed for clearing toxins from the body and helping against infections.
However, in the new paper published
in the British Dental Journal
, a team of experts explained that there's no scientific evidence supporting the claims of charcoal toothpaste's benefits.
The product could even work against the teeth since too frequent and heavy brushing could wear down the teeth, especially those that are more sensitive. Since most of these products don't contain fluoride, they also offer very limited protection from tooth decay.
Furthermore, charcoal-based materials are often abrasive, which could damage the enamel and the gums.
"When used too often in people with fillings, it can get into them and become difficult to get out," Dr. Joseph Greenwall-Cohen, study co-author from the University of Manchester Dental School, told
BBC. "Charcoal particles can also get caught up in the gums and irritate them."
More About Charcoal Toothpaste
According to the study authors, the charcoal found in toothpaste is usually a powdered form of treated charcoal.
Charcoal is often made from various materials, including bamboo
, coal, coconut husks, nutshells, and more. Even in ancient times, it has already been used for oral hygiene.
However, experts say that it's not a practice that should be continued to this day, especially since there are much better options in the market.
In fact, a 2017 review in the Journal of the American Dental Association
that there is insufficient data to back the claims and safety of charcoal and charcoal-based dentistry products. The team behind this previous study also cautioned people against its use.
"Charcoal-based toothpastes offer no silver bullets for anyone seeking a perfect smile, and come with real risks attached," Professor Damien Walmsley of the British Dental Association added in the BBC report. "So don't believe the hype. Anyone concerned about staining or discoloured teeth that can't be shifted by a change in diet, or improvements to their oral hygiene, should see their dentist."