How Does Charcoal Toothpaste Work?
The theory says – charcoal has a strong adhesive quality which binds everything that comes in its way including bacteria, tartar, and stains. It does the job by absorbing and drawing out chemical/ toxins into millions of the tiny sponge-like pores present on the surface. Furthermore, its abrasive surface rubs off stains resulting in seemingly whiter teeth.
Let’s understand the first half of the question in more depth.
To understand how does activated charcoal toothpaste works, you first need to know where it comes from.
Charcoal toothpaste is made from treated carbon. It can come from wood or coconut fiber. This material is heated at high temperatures until it turns into charcoal.
The resulting material is further oxidized by making it go through a process called ‘Activation’, hence the term – activated charcoal.
Activated charcoal surface has numerous tiny holes which give it the increased surface area. This makes the resulting products like charcoal toothpaste highly porous.
It resembles a sponge-like surface as well as properties. This is precisely the reason why activated charcoal toothpaste is able to soak up toxins and stains.
This ability of activated charcoal to soak up chemicals is the reason it is used in products like water filters, etc.
It is mildly abrasive which helps it gently rub off stains. Since it only rubs off the stains and not actually whitens the teeth, it gives the illusion of whiter teeth.
If you are a heavy smoker or a regular coffee drinker with visibly stained teeth, you are far more likely to benefit from it than someone who doesn’t have a lot of stains to begin with.
Does charcoal toothpaste really work?
Yes, it does.
However, if you are relying on evidence that is backed by science, then no, there is none.
But, the good thing is there is plenty of anecdotal evidence out there that speaks in favor of charcoal toothpaste and its whitening effects on teeth.
According to a poll/survey conducted by authoritydental.org, consumers were asked whether or not they noticed any positive outcomes after using activated charcoal toothpaste.
69.5% people voted in the favor of using it while only 34.1% voted against it.
You can check out the results of the poll here.
There are many before/after pictures shared by people that further support a visible difference after brushing their teeth with charcoal toothpaste.
An important side note – There is no scientific data till date to actually prove the effects of charcoal for whitening of teeth. Although FDA has given it a green signal for treating several health issues, ADA (American Dental Association) is yet to approve products that include charcoal for treating plaque and getting whiter teeth.
A Word Of Caution
It is advised not to use activated charcoal toothpaste for more than 5 days. For best results, use it for 4-5 days in a row (once every day) and not for a couple of months after that.
The same properties that enable charcoal to absorb and throw out toxins can also cause it to absorb important minerals.
Let’s not forget the abrasive surface of the toothpaste can rob teeth off of its enamel exposing them to sensitivity and eventual tooth decay.