Activated Charcoal Is a Natural Ingredient, But Is It Safe for Your Teeth?

Just because activated charcoal is a natural ingredient, doesn't make it safe for your teeth. We explain the risks of using charcoal toothpaste.

Activated Charcoal Is a Natural Ingredient, But Is It Safe for Your Teeth?

As holistic dentists, we’re always interested in finding natural cures for common dental problems. But just because an ingredient is natural, doesn’t mean it’s safe. Using charcoal toothpaste can actually cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums—here’s why we don’t recommend it.

What Are the Risks of Using Charcoal Toothpaste?

1: Enamel Erosion

Charcoal is extremely abrasive. Yes, it can remove stains and whiten your teeth. It can easily scrape your tooth enamel off, too. Rebuilding tooth enamel is not a quick or easy process, and meanwhile, having weakened enamel will only invite cavities and even worse stains.

On top of all that, activated charcoal also interferes with remineralization. Because charcoal is absorbent, it can trap fluoride, calcium, and other minerals before they reach your teeth. This makes it even harder for your body to repair the abrasive damage from charcoal toothpaste.

2: Gum Disease

Don’t forget that when you’re brushing your teeth, you’re brushing your gums, too. Irritating that sensitive tissue makes you more vulnerable to gingivitis, and could even make your gums start to recede. Using charcoal toothpaste—especially on a daily basis—can cause irreversible damage. 

The particles of charcoal leave tiny scratches on your gums. These wounds make it easy for infections like gum disease to take hold. If your gums look red and puffy, or if they bleed when you floss, you may need to seek treatment for gum disease—the sooner, the better.

3: Tooth Sensitivity

Enamel erosion and receding gums can both cause tooth sensitivity. When the enamel becomes so thin that the porous pulp inside your teeth is exposed, it sends hot and cold sensations straight to your nerves. You don’t want to feel pain when you’re doing normal things that you enjoy. 

Having sensitive teeth can ruin your pleasure in a cup of hot tea or coffee, a breath of cold mountain air or a scoop of ice cream. It can even make brushing your teeth painful. Since tooth sensitivity often indicates problems like cavities and gingivitis, don’t ignore it. Make a dentist appointment to get it checked out.

A Better Alternative for Naturally Whiter Teeth

Baking soda is only mildly abrasive, but it can remove surface stains and whiten your teeth without causing any damage. As long as you brush gently and limit using it to once a day, baking soda is a much safer alternative. 

You can even make your own baking soda toothpaste from scratch. Just mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with a few drops of water until it turns into a paste. You can also add a few drops of an essential oil like coconut or peppermint to improve the flavor. However, homemade toothpaste doesn’t have any minerals that help rebuild your enamel, so you’ll need to brush with a fluoride toothpaste or a mineral tooth powder once a day as well. 

Holistic Dental Care in Prescott, Arizona

If you’re looking for the safest, most natural dental treatments, make an appointment at Prescott Dentistry. We understand why you care about the products you use and about what goes into your body. That’s why we use biomimetic materials and offer holistic treatments that you won’t find at a typical drill-and-fill dentist. Experience the difference for yourself—contact us to make an appointment today.


Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 4/24/2024.