The week after the holidays is for spending time with family, preparing for the New Year, and, of course, trying out our new gadgets. Maybe that means turning up the jam with our new smart speaker, cooking up something fast and delicious with our electronic pressure cooker, or watching the game on our 4k television.
If for you this includes trying out that new charcoal toothpaste, however, than you might want to think twice.
You’ve probably seen the ads on social media claiming charcoal toothpaste is the next big thing in teeth whitening, but the facts are not nearly as clear cut. While it’s true that toothpastes containing activated charcoal have quadrupled, the evidence that charcoal can remove surface stains on teeth only seems to be anecdotal, and in many cases, they seem to be doing more harm than good.
What Makes Toothpaste Effective
For nearly eighty years, fluoride has been proven to be incredibly effective at actively protecting teeth from tooth decay. In many studies, in fact, the fluoride found in toothpaste has proven to be more beneficial than the act of brushing. That’s why if you’ve traveled somewhere and forgotten your toothbrush, simply using your finger to smear toothpaste around your teeth can be beneficial.
Many of the highest-rated toothpastes contain between 1350 to 1500 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride. The problem with the majority of charcoal activated toothpaste is that they contain none.
Charcoal Toothpaste Can Do More Harm Than Good
According to a warning put out by the Oral Health Foundation, charcoal toothpaste can be abrasive, and can quickly wear away enamel and expose teeth to decay. Ironically, it seems, using charcoal toothpaste can actually make it easier for your teeth to stain afterward.
Alternative Teeth Whitening
Yellow or stained teeth can be a constant source of embarrassment, making it difficult to smile, and lowering self-esteem. That said, there are much more effective teeth whitening solutions that are safer, and time-tested.
- In-Office Whitening
In-office whitening is one of the most standard treatments for yellow teeth, and can be done in under an hour. Using a chemical process that removes stains from the enamel, this treatment can leave your teeth significantly whiter than before.
- At-Home Whitening
At-home whitening systems use custom whitening trays you wear overnight. Although this method will not whiten your teeth right away, it does allow you to maintain that natural looking brightness after in-office whitening.
- Porcelain Veneers
Any whitening solution has its limits. Your teeth can only get as white as your natural enamel will allow. Porcelain veneers aren’t bound by that limit. They are a thin layer of advanced ceramic placed over natural teeth to produce the most dramatic cosmetic effects possible. Not only can veneers create the brightest natural smile, they can also correct chips, and gaps in the teeth. Though considered to be a costly solution, when properly cared for, they can last up to 20 years.