Charcoal-based toothpastes - which claim to help whiten teeth - could actually increase the risk of tooth decay and staining, a review published in the British Dental Journal has found.
According to the review, charcoal-based toothpastes often contain little or no fluoride to help protect teeth and the claims they make about whitening are not supported by any evidence. Furthermore, excessive brushing with them can actually do more harm than good because they are often more abrasive than regular toothpastes and can cause damage to tooth enamel and gums.
The authors of the paper say people should stick to brushing with a regular fluoride toothpaste and consult their dentist about teeth bleaching/whitening.
Speaking about the review, Prof Damien Walmsley, from the British Dental Association, said: “Charcoal-based toothpastes offer no silver bullets for anyone seeking a perfect smile, and come with real risks attached.
“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.”
The bottom line, according to study co-author Dr Joseph Greenwall-Cohen, from the University of Manchester Dental School, is that charcoal-based toothpastes do not provide “a low cost, quick-fix, tooth-whitening option.”