The current oral health trend of using products containing activated charcoal to whiten teeth has recently been examined by a leading charity in the United Kingdom. The Oral Health Foundation analyzed research that claimed the products were safe and effective, finding that there is insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the claims.
The not for profit charity, which is dedicated to improving oral health and wellbeing around the world, is concerned that many consumers are using charcoal based products without fully knowing what they contain.
A recent news article from the organization quoted Dr. Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation as saying: “Activated charcoal is undoubtedly the current fashionable health ingredient, appearing in everything from face masks, deodorant, lip balm and increasingly frequently, from our point of view, toothpaste.”
“The number of charcoal toothpastes and powders on the market is growing rapidly and are being marketed at through instafamous celebrity endorsements, but we believe shoppers may be being misled,” he added. “Much of the time the celebrity has had professional tooth whitening and their white smiles are not a direct result of using the product. From a whitening perspective, there may be anecdotal evidence of their whitening potential but any effect they have will likely be superficial. Many toothpastes which claim to whiten our teeth are simply removing surface stains, and will not offer the long lasting bright white smiles which many users may be looking for, or being promised through advertising.”
Additional new research has also suggested that there is no concrete evidence supporting the claims made by many of the increasingly popular products, and in fact, some products may actually be harmful as they do not contain the effective ingredients to help prevent tooth decay.
Toothpaste needs to contain 1,350 to 1,500 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride to actively protect teeth from decay. Many of the current toothpastes containing activated charcoal fall well below this standard, putting users at an increased risk of developing tooth decay.
“If I would advise consumers to ensure they do their homework before deciding to use a product with activated charcoal,” added Dr. Carter.
“There are many reasons why people want to have whiter teeth, and I advise them to speak with a dental professional to establish what the best option for them individually is. Some of the products may be over abrasive and if used too often can wear away the enamel on the teeth causing sensitivity. Be careful to check with a dental professional that the product you want to use is safe, but as long as the toothpaste has the correct amount of fluoride in it should be fine to use. But in the long term, it is important to understand that the only way to get the white teeth many people desire is through professional whitening services provided by a dental professional.”
Written by MarkPaulsort
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