Charcoal Toothpastes

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Despite Popularity, No Evidence Charcoal Toothpastes Are Safe, Effective.

Noting the prevalence of health and beauty products containing charcoal, PopSugar (3/7, Shiffer) questions whether using charcoal toothpastes to whiten teeth is safe. “Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s safe,” said Ada Cooper, DDS, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “Charcoal toothpastes often contain a variety of ingredients, and the safety of those ingredients hasn’t been established.” The article notes that a literature review published in The Journal of the American Dental Association found insufficient evidence to support the efficacy claims of charcoal products. In addition, charcoal toothpastes may actually harm teeth. “Charcoal is recognized as an abrasive mineral to teeth and gums,” Dr. Cooper explained. “Using materials that are too abrasive can actually make your teeth look more yellow, because it can wear away the tooth’s enamel and expose the softer, yellower layer called dentin.”

Dental professionals can find additional information on whitening on an ADA Science Institute-developed Oral Health Topics page. The ADA also offers a brochure, Tooth Whitening for a Better Smile.

Dental professionals can direct their patients to, ADA’s consumer website, for evidence-based information about teeth whitening, including information on natural teeth whitening methods. The ADA provides a complete list of toothpastes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, including some with stain removal attributes.

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