The use of activated charcoal in toothpaste is not new:
the Ancient Romans were the firsts to add powdered charcoal or bark in their toothpastes and since then a large number of old scripts refer of this substance in oral hygiene.
What really is charcoal activated?
Charcoal activated is the final result of high density cabonium materials slow combustion in presence of gas.The most common material used are hard woods , peat or coconut shells. That is why so often the name of charcoal toothpastes are associated with the noun of a plant : Bamboo, Coconut etc…
What are the properties of Charcoal Activated?
The slow cooking of the wooden materials in precence of gas create a substance characterized by an elevated biological activity: phisical and chemical reactivity.
Charcoal Activated looks like a particulate , often powdered into a thin powder. The ‘activated’ surface shows an incredible number of holes and crevices (dued to the exposition to a gas during burning).
This ‘microporosity’ enance the surface of the material: a teaspoon of charcoal powder has about the same total surface area of a football field!
The whole surface has chemical properties as well: the Carbon-chains have carboxylic sites that can easily link a large number of organic molecules. Literature proved activated charcoal can effectively absorb and trap toxic chemicals.
These characteristic made the charcoal activated part of the standard treatment for accidental poisonings.
The activated charcoal assumed in reasonable quantities does not cause heavy side effect or adverse reactions.
Does it makes my teeth whiter??
the key question…. yes… It makes your teeth whiter!
Sincerely ….It seemed very difficult to find some serous and indipendent literature about the matter … considering the large spread had this product on the world-markets 2 professionists of our team decided to perform a test by ourself: brushed 3 times a day , for 2 minutes by electric toothbrush for 5 weeks.
And results were compelling :
enamel becomes brighter during the first 2-3 weeks then after the 4th week the teeth look certainly whiter.
Of course this has not to be considered as an evidence even as a single clinical report:
- a positive result is possible dued to a better hygiene (the enthusiasm of the new trial)
- we ignore the stability of the results
- we haven’t performed an objective and reliable chromometry
- the trial does not consider different type of enamel and subjective conditions
But still our testers seem very happy and they look forward to use it in the next future.
Main question: is it safe?
The sustance is safe even intaken in high quantity by ingestion in case of poisoning.
Not much is really known about long-term continuous use for oral hygiene:recent articles showed claims of whitening, antibacterial,antiviral ,antifungal and of course whitening properties for this activated charcoal toothpastes.
Very important factor is the choice of the product: Charcoal toothpastes cannot be assumed to be regular toothpastes to which activated charcoal has been added: the common molecular contents of the toothpaste (fluorides) could interact with the charcoal activated resulting in lower properties of both the contents.
The American Dental Association recently pubblished a review: after a metanalysis of more than 17 articles the researchers concluded that more evidence is needed before they can confidently establish the safety of charcoal pastes in continuous use.
Our clinic professionists suggest caution:Charcoal-containing toothpaste may be found to be most effective when used to delay the recurrence of surface staining on teeth following professional cleaning (scaling) and polishing. The use for 30 days every 6 month is a prudent and safe choice.
“in medio stat virtus” used to say the Romans (…the same were using the Charcoal Activated for their smiles!).