When it comes to your toothpaste – is black the new white?

In response to the boom of newly-minted oral wellness brands being launched by top-positioned social and beauty influencers dominating Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, it’s wise to peel away the labels of hashtag chatter and paid reviews and do your own research when it comes to protecting your natural assets.

The great thing about social media is, candid transparency is also on the rise when it comes to modern brands relevance in the race to market dominance. Because of this, you’ll often see ingredients listed clearly so you know exactly (or more clearly now than we ever have) what exactly it is you may be ingesting or applying.

Where oral wellness intersects with this new phenom, activated charcoal has become increasingly popular throughout social media platforms in toothpaste form, touting “natural” whitening power. But how much do you really know about the safety of ingested activated charcoal via toothpaste, even in small amounts?

It’s true, activated charcoal is not new to medicine but it is new to oral wellness. Traditionally used in poison control centers and hospitals for its efficacy in the pharmacological treatment of poison exposure, activated charcoal has been well documented since the early 1800s as one of the most widely used methods of decontamination. That being said, there is little evidence of its efficacy of use in oral health (ingested as toothpaste).  

Popular social media outlets claim the many benefits of activated charcoal including: antibacterial, anti-cariogenic, and anti-staining properties. However; according to the latest research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association*, there is insufficient data to advocate for the safety and efficacy of charcoal and charcoal-based toothpaste (J. Books et al 2017). Beyond that — hold the phone — the Journal goes on to warn about the possible deleterious effects of charcoal in toothpaste.

Activated charcoal is an abrasive, and like any abrasive, it may adversely affect your teeth and gums. Ultimately, your risk for caries, gum disease and teeth staining may increase. Abrasive material can cause the surface of your tooth to roughen, which allows more stains and bacteria to attach to your teeth – which is everything you’re trying to prevent by brushing in the first place!

Rest assured! There are several safe and easy ways to get your pearly whites glistening like freshly surfaced pearls… Our patients love the results of using both the Zoom! Whitening In House Treatment and Zoom! Whitening Take-Home kit with customized trays.

Be the future – white is the new white, obvs!

*Reference: Charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices. Brooks, John K. et al. The Journal of the American Dental Association , Volume 148 , Issue 9 , 661 – 670