Charcoal Toothpastes Don’t Whiten Teeth

BBC News Online (UK) (5/10) reported a review in the British Dental Journal claims charcoal-based toothpastes are a “marketing gimmick” with no scientific evidence to support claims they whiten teeth. The authors add that the toothpastes may increase the risk of tooth decay and staining, and that “excessive brushing with them can do more harm than good.”

MarketWatch (5/10, Pesce) reported a 2017 study in The Journal of the American Dental Association analyzed more than 100 articles on charcoal and charcoal-based toothpastes and powders and determined there was “insufficient clinical and laboratory data” to support charcoal toothpaste’s safety or effectiveness, and warned dentists and patients to “be cautious” in using them. American Dental Association spokesman Dr. Matt Messina told MarketWatch, “Not only is it not beneficial, but it’s potentially dangerous.” He added, “This is where I have to speak out, and where the [dental] profession has to speak out.” The ADA instead “recommends speaking with your dentist about your teeth whitening options, which can depend upon the severity of your stains as well as any underlying health issues that could be discoloring your teeth. Or select a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which verifies that the toothpaste is safe and lives up to its claims.”