Dentistry is a rapidly evolving and advancing field, and while that advancement is a good thing, separating fact from fiction can be difficult. Dental fads drive most of the purchasing and dental care habits people adopt. Sometimes, dental fads are helpful, other times they have the potential to do more harm than good.
Charcoal toothpaste is one of those potentially harmful fads.
And while you can’t go to any toothpaste aisle and not see a pack for sale, you may be surprised at what long-term usage could look like for your teeth.
When navigating fads like these, there’s sure to be confusion, after all, not everyone is a trained dental professional. Knowing what’s right, and arguably more importantly, what’s wrong, in regard to your dental routine can feel impossible. But nobody should feel that way.
Finding a good dentist, one who’s ready to answer your questions and provide you with the excellent care you need may seem like the biggest challenge yet, though once you have one appointment behind you the process to better dental health is underway!
Schedule an appointment with South Charlotte Dentistry and you’ll receive the answers to all your dental questions and figure out what’s fact or fiction in a dental world that’s constantly changing.
The Breakdown of Charcoal Toothpaste
When you see charcoal toothpaste advertised it’s usually presented as an alternative to traditional toothpaste, sometimes, it’s said to be even more effective than your average toothpaste. Whitening is at the heart of what charcoal toothpaste promises to do, and some consumers have even said they’ve seen the difference.
So, you may be thinking, “If my teeth appear whiter after regularly using charcoal toothpaste, how can it be bad?”
The first step that’s necessary after asking that question is understanding that whitening isn’t always indicative of progress in dental health. Importantly, charcoal toothpaste only makes your teeth appear whiter. That’s because it is removing the surface stains by destroying layers of enamel.
The abrasive nature of charcoal toothpaste makes it dangerous for daily use, seeing that enamel once destroyed cannot be regained. That caution and concern related to abrasion are also why it’s highly recommended that you use soft-bristle toothbrushes. Though, enamel usually shows as yellow-ish, so that destruction is also what leads to the whitening effect.
Toothpaste in general doesn’t have long enough contact with a tooth to truly whiten it. All of those promises result from a marketing scheme used to take advantage of charcoal toothpaste’s growing popularity.
Here are some other problems charcoal toothpaste can cause when used regularly —
Charcoal Toothpaste and Your Gums:
The abrasion mentioned earlier also has the potential to do damage to your gums. Daily or continual use leads to the wearing down of gums which opens a number of negative possibilities. Complete gum erosion often requires grafting to return to a healthy level of gum tissue which is costly and necessitates surgery.
Charcoal Toothpaste’s Interaction With Dental Work:
Charcoal toothpaste promises to whiten and improve the appearance of your teeth, though little is mentioned in the way of crowns, bridges, and veneers. That’s because charcoal toothpaste producers don’t want you to know the damage the toothpaste can cause to your dental work. The main risk is serious discoloration, which produces the opposite effect of all intended dental work — to have a smile that appears natural.
Charcoal Toothpaste Typically Doesn’t Contain Fluoride:
Most modern charcoal toothpaste doesn’t contain fluoride. This can be more of a detriment than one may expect. Fluoride helps rebuild, or remilitarize, the enamel on your teeth and can even prevent or reverse early cases of tooth decay. The lack of fluoride alongside the already abrasive and damaging nature of charcoal toothpaste means trouble for your tooth’s enamel and overall health.
Charcoal Toothpaste and Oral Irritation:
As we’ve discussed, the abrasive nature of charcoal toothpaste can destroy enamel and gum tissue. That destruction of tissue doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it can lead to general irritation throughout your entire mouth. This typically predates significant gum or enamel erosion. However, if you’ve had sensations of irritation, it may be important to go to the dentist to see just what impact charcoal toothpaste use has had on your mouth.
Another necessary thing to note is that this irritation is not like that felt by whitening strips. The sensitivity that comes from whitening with gel or strips is not from surface scratches but from the dentinal tubules being opened during the whitening process. That sensitivity from gel or strips is also not permanent and subside after you discontinue whitening. Charcoal toothpaste’s irritation, on the other hand, results from severe damage that is likely to persist after use.
Charcoal Toothpaste Lacks Study or Backing:
Maybe one of the most compelling pieces of information when discussing why you should stay away from charcoal toothpaste — no long-term study exists that explains the effects of charcoal toothpaste.
Charcoal is high in carbon, which is what creates the abrasive nature and quality of the toothpaste. The very components of charcoal toothpaste are long untested when it comes to their impact on oral health. This means that charcoal toothpaste is still surrounded by unknowns, and when choosing something to benefit your dental health, you want to be sure you’ll have the positive effects promised.
For Those Looking To Whiten Your Teeth
If you’ve been looking to charcoal toothpaste as the keyway to whiten your teeth, your hopes are likely feeling a little dashed. Still, there’s good news — there are other, healthier, safer, and more sustainable ways to add whitening habits to your dental regimen.
Here are a few key ways you whiten your teeth safely at home, in between your regular dentist visits:
Add Fruits and Vegetables To Your Diet
Having a healthy diet that’s high in both fruits and vegetables does more than you may think. The benefits to your oral health are considerable, not only do they boost your immune system, many of the foods can remove plaque as you eat them, leading to a whiter smile.
Pineapples have stood out as one of the most impactful foods on the whiteness of your teeth because it contains enzymes that can remove tooth stains.
Work To Limit Or Prevent Stains
The best way to keep your teeth white is to stop staining before it happens. Often, it’s much harder to remove stains than to prevent them.
Good stain prevention habits vary but there are a few small things you can incorporate into your daily eating and drinking to see a huge difference. Limiting the consumption of dark wines, coffee, darker fruit, soda, and other well-known staining foods is one of the best ways to stop potential staining. If you are drinking those darker beverages, it may be a good idea to use a straw to negate long-term contact with your teeth.
Most importantly, brushing your teeth regularly and after eating stain-causing foods will go a long way.
While these tips are helpful, avoiding detrimental fads and relying on a qualified dentist will also have a massive impact on the health of your teeth.
The Real Way to Have Whiter Teeth? Going to the Right Dentist
If there’s one thing this article conveyed, it’s that finding actual dental solutions can be more difficult than one may imagine.
One of the universal truths in not just whitening, but overall dental health, is that check-ups and regular dental appointments are the most important ways you can maintain dental health and whiten your teeth.
And if you’re looking for a dental professional who’s above all the dental fads and committed to providing quality care, look no further — South Charlotte Dentistry has you covered. They’ve served the Charlotte area for countless years and have a number of happy smiles to point to as evidence of their ability and quality of care.
So, stop standing in the toothpaste aisle reading product after product and wondering, “Will this actually work?” and start the process of really whitening your teeth with South Charlotte Dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today and see what real results are, not just dental fads.