Brushing your teeth with activated charcoal – does it make sense? In this article, you will learn how black toothpaste works and what major disadvantages it has. It also gives you a tip on what to look for when choosing the right charcoal toothpaste.
Activated charcoal: what is it?
Activated charcoal is porous, fine-grained carbon. Because of the large inner surface, the carbon serves as an adsorbent, like a highly absorbent sponge. It uses this property in medicine to remove microbes from the gastrointestinal tract or ingested toxins. Activated charcoal, therefore, binds dirt and pollutants to itself.
Medical charcoal for dental care comes in several forms:
- Powder: black activated charcoal powder is used with a little water with no additives for cleaning teeth
- Capsules: they bite these into in the mouth before brushing your teeth, which should facilitate the use of activated charcoal
- Additive in dental care creams: we add activated charcoal to normal toothpaste
Activated charcoal in the toothpaste
We add activated charcoal powder to toothpaste. This should bring about natural cleaning and gentle whitening when brushing your teeth. But this does not happen because of the binding effect of the activated charcoal, as it loses this effect when it adds to the dental care cream. The activated carbon has already bonded to other ingredients and is no longer absorbent.
Instead, the bleaching is done by abrasion: the grains of the activated charcoal act like sandpaper, which scrubs discoloration from the tooth. With regular use of activated charcoal toothpaste, the teeth can become lighter. However, conventional toothpaste has a similar effect for the cleaning particles it contains.
Activated charcoal toothpaste is much more abrasive than conventional dental care creams. The charcoal removes superficial discoloration and roughens the tooth enamel. The first effect is whitening, teeth appear whiter. The more often you brush with activated charcoal, you lose the more substance. So, you scrub off the resistant protective layer piece by piece. This ultimately leads to sensitive teeth.
External stimuli also get into the inside of the tooth to the nerve and create a sharp pain. Besides the loss of substance, the use of activated charcoal can quickly lead to new discoloration. Dyes can be deposited more easily on the roughened surface. Using medical activated charcoal for dental care can not only damage the substance but also negatively affect the color of the teeth.
“Repair” the tooth surface
The manufacturers of black toothpaste advertise that minor defects in the tooth enamel are compensated for – and its structure is thus stabilized again. To do this, we add hydroxyapatite to the toothpaste, which can also be found as a natural component in tooth enamel. By storing the hydroxyapatite, weakened areas should be rebuilt.
However, these dental care creams also contain sodium fluoride, which by itself has a positive effect on the tooth structure. In combination with the hydroxyapatite, however, a reaction that blocks the effect of both substances occurs. The caries-protective effect of fluoride is lost, which makes your teeth more prone to tooth decay.
Important tips: what must a toothpaste contain?
Toothpaste mainly comprises cleaning agents, foaming agents, flavorings and aromas, humectants, preservatives, colorings, and additives. But which ingredients should you look out for when buying?
1. Tip: Pay attention to the RDA value
This value shows how strong the abrasive effect of the cleaning body is on your tooth substance. The higher the RDA value, the higher the abrasion. Too much abrasion makes teeth more prone to new discoloration and tooth decay. We recommend a value below 50 for people with sensitive teeth or for using electric toothbrushes.
Tip 2: The right amount and type of fluoride is crucial
- Fluoride compounds inhibit acid attack on the tooth surface, for example, by bacteria.
- In addition, the smallest weakened areas are stabilized again, making the tooth enamel even more resistant afterward.
- Fluoride concentration: A dose of 500 ppm fluoride is recommended for children’s toothpaste. Adults should brush their teeth with 1000-1500 ppm.
- Type of fluoride: besides sodium fluoride and sodium monofluorophosphate, the use of amine fluoride is particularly recommended for dental care.
Tip 3: Buy a dental cream that suits your needs
Some kinds of toothpaste are based on special needs. There is a sensitive toothpaste that has low abrasion. They also contain substances that counteract the sensitivity, for example, by sealing the tooth surface. Other toothpastes are specially developed for periodontitis and counteract gum disease better than universal toothpaste. There are now also certain pastes for teeth at risk from acid, which is supposed to strengthen the tooth enamel more quickly after an acid attack.
Activated charcoal toothpaste promises healthy and white teeth, but teeth whitening is not permanent and even harmful to dental health. Do not let current trends and advertising influence you.
When buying, pay attention to the stated value for abrasion and the fluoride content. Ask your dentist which toothpaste would be right for you and get detailed advice. Because only your dentist knows the strengths and weaknesses of your teeth and can give you individual tips.