In recent years, there have been lots of brouhaha over the use of activated charcoal in skincare products such as facial washes, face masks and moisturisers. It has been claimed that the black substance can help in detoxification, hence giving skin a whiter and clearer appearance. As a result, the ingredient has also seen application in some brands of toothpaste which have been marketed as something of a miracle product for your mouth. But do these activated charcoal toothpastes really live up to the hype?
Activated charcoal as a teeth whitener
Proclaiming this kind of toothpaste as a teeth whitener would be a little too far-fetched. At best, the charcoal toothpaste removes stains from the surface of the teeth. These stains are commonly formed from food and beverages such as wine, coffee and tea, tobacco and dark-coloured foods.
A proper teeth-whitening procedure tackles the darkened teeth from within, and requires specialised equipment and products to penetrate the teeth to whiten them. Charcoal toothpastes only targets the outer surface of the teeth for a superficial effect and is insufficient for achieving the true whitening effect.
Activated charcoal as a detoxifier
Charcoal can bind to unwanted particles and facilitate easy removal. As such, some have claimed that charcoal toothpaste can help to detoxify the teeth and gums.
However, the truth isn’t quite as simple as that. The mouth is not responsible for any form detoxification process, mainly because there are no toxins hanging around the mouth to begin with. If there are no toxins, then there really is nothing to detoxify at all.
Activated charcoal to tackle bad breath
As mentioned before, activated charcoal can remove unwanted particles such as plaque and food particles to prevent bad breath. That being said, other traditional toothpastes can also do this job and just as well. A good approach to adopt would be alternate between using conventional and charcoal-based toothpastes to get the best of both worlds.
While charcoal toothpaste does have its advantages, don’t take it as a sign to throw away your other toothpastes just yet. Despite what the chemical scaremongers might want you to believe, the fluoride in regular toothpaste is essential for maintaining the strength of your enamel and fighting off tooth decay. Be it black or white, they’re both alright!