Does charcoal toothpaste actually work?
The dental industry has been known to pour cold water over many whitening treatments, in particular DIY whitening kits, that can damage enamel, but many dentists believe that activated charcoal is totally worth the hype ... but it comes with a warning.
It is said to remove stains (but does not whiten), balances oral pH and improves halitosis (bad breath) and helps our overall dental health.
However, according to the Independent, a study earlier this year in the British Dental Journal found that the abrasive property of charcoal can cause erosion of enamel much more quickly than using regular toothpaste.
Dr Linda Greenwall, lead author of the study and member of the British Dental Bleaching Society, who conducted the research, urged consumers to check the ingredients of charcoal-based toothpastes before use to ensure they contain fluoride.
Calcium and phosphate are also needed in order to strengthen enamel, she added.
"When used too often in people with fillings, it can get into them and become difficult to get out," Dr. Joseph Greenwall-Cohen, co-author of the study from the University of Manchester Dental School, told the BBC. "Charcoal particles can also get caught up in the gums and irritate them."
As its long-term effects and safety are still not known, some dentists have advised to err on the side of caution if you're using a charcoal-infused paste and to brush very gently to avoid wearing down the surface enamel.
Other dentists suggest not to brush with the charcoal at all, but to slather it on teeth and leave it for up to five minutes.
Can you make it yourself?
As well as there being dozens of charcoal toothpaste-type products on the market, there are numerous instructions online for DIY charcoal toothpaste.
Dr. Burhenne on AskTheDentist.com has created a popular recipe that should take around 20 minutes and includes the ingredients: 2 teaspoons activated charcoal; 3 teaspoons calcium carbonate; 1 teaspoon food grade bentonite clay; 2 1/2 teaspoons xylitol; 4 teaspoons distilled water; and 2 teaspoons cold-pressed organic coconut oil.
But if you are not up for trying that, here are five popular activated charcoal toothpastes in Australia:
5. Colgate Total Charcoal Toothpaste
Fights bacteria not just on your teeth but also on your tongue, cheeks and gums. Its formula with micro-charcoal particles , provides a deep clean and protects against bacteria for 12 hours. It’s also affordable compared to the others, so it's a great one to use if you want to give it a go starting out.
Review: "I love this toothpaste. It has a great taste, it makes my mouth feel clean, and it makes my breath smells good. It has a stripe of charcoal in the toothpaste. It works."
4. White Glo Toothpaste Charcoal Deep Stain Remover
Easily available from many chemists throughout Australia, White Glo is safe for daily use thanks to its low-abrasive formula. It is also competitively priced.
Review: "I drink a lot of coffee, and people ask how I keep my teeth white despite my love for coffee. This product is the answer, I hate minty toothpaste and so this is great because it barely has any taste and works great!"
Not only will this toothpaste look super stylish in your bathroom, it is vegan while also delivering minty fresh breath. Formulated with charcoal, it is also infused with coconut oil to attack the harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause tooth decay, bad breath and gum disease, and cinnamon for its ability to ease inflammation (helping to heal ulcers and sensitive gums). Spearmint oil also has antiseptic properties which can protect ulcers from infection and has been shown to help them heal faster.
Review: "Excellent alternative. I have purchased this and love it! I tried charcoal toothpaste about 5 years ago but it tasted horrible. This is the next evolution! It’s vegan, beautiful packaging and leaves your mouth feeling fresh and clean!"
2. HiSmile Day and Night Toothpaste
The Kardashian's favourite teeth whitener has now launched a teeth whitening duo with one tube for the morning, and another that’s specifically formulated to be used at night.
The Day Toothpaste coats teeth in a micro shield wax to protect from stains, while the Night Toothpaste, which contains activated charcoal, bentonite clay, aloe vera and five key minerals, goes to work on existing stains as you sleep. All with natural ingredients.
On the site, this product has a whopping 1,111 reviews with an average of 4.8 stars.
Review: "After trying the bleaching kit, I decided to try out the toothpaste. I noticed a difference immediately! I went from a 5 [on the teeth whitening char] to somewhere between a 3 and a 4 within a few days (started at a 7 about 2 months ago) and I'm hoping to eventually achieve the perfect white shade."
Carbon Coco Activated Charcoal Tooth Polish
It looks like a shoe polish, but for your teeth. The dentist approved product contains 100% organic coconut shell activated charcoal with a hint of bentonite powder and lemon myrtle. You use it by dipping a wet toothbrush into jar, brush your teeth for three minutes and spit out and rinse
Review: "If you're on the quest for the whitest of white teeth like me, I suggest you give Carbon Coco's Activated Charcoal Tooth Polish a try. It delivers on its promises of cleaning your teeth to the fullest."
Note: You should always consult with an expert before changing your everyday dental hygiene habits.
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