You may have noticed the increase of charcoal toothpaste products on your grocery store shelves. It’s the hottest thing in dental care right now.
It’s even backed by some celebrities such as singer and X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger.
However, actual dentists are not so amused about the trend. Dental experts from King’s College London and the University of Manchester say that charcoal products are reliant on “marketing gimmicks and folklore.”
Experts said that charcoal may actually have a negative effect on dental health, since it may absorb flouride, the main ingredient needed to prevent tooth decay. According to them, charcoal doesn’t actually make teeth whiter, but merely removes the stains.
High street stores Holland & Barrett and Boots sell these trendy toothpastes.
Charcoal is marketed as an effective teeth whitening product. Scherzinger revealed that she brushes her teeth with “coal” to make them whiter.
Dr Joseph Greenwall-Cohen from the University of Manchester Dental School and British Dental Bleaching Society said that “the problem is that there are so many celebrity endorsements and social media posts about these products, but the claims made about them are unsupported by the evidence.”
Dr. Greenwall-Cohen reviewed dozens of scientific studies on charcoal products and is also a co-author of an article in the British Dental Journal.
“The high abortive nature of charcoal limits the amount of active fluoride in the toothpastes required for prevention of dental decay.”
“Additionally the “whitening effect” of the toothpaste is limited to removal of staining and may be no more than the whitening effect of any regular toothpaste.”
The use of charcoal for cleaning teeth goes all the way back to ancient Greek times.
It was philosopher Hippocrates who was allegedly the first one to use it for that purpose.
Professor Damien Walmsley, a scientific adviser for the British Dental Association pointed out:
“Charcoal-based toothpastes offer no silver bullets for anyone seeking a perfect smile, and come with real risks attached.”
“These abrasive formulations may be effective at removing surface stains, but prolonged use may also wear away tooth enamel. Research now shows it could even cause discoloration of the gums.”
“The vast majority of these toothpastes are fluoride-free so aren’t even offering the basics required to protect teeth from decay.”
“So don’t believe the hype. Anyone concerned about staining or discoloured teeth that can’t be shifted by a change in diet, or improvements to their oral hygiene, should see their dentist.”
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