Charcoal is the latest rage, but is it good for your mouth?
by Mark A. Penshorn, DDS, Schertz Dentist
Recently there have been many advertisements and testimonials advocating the use of charcoal and charcoal-based toothpastes. In response, a large review of international scientific literature has been published. Here’s what it found:
*None of the 50 different toothpastes that were identified had any references for any clinical trials of effectiveness or toxicity and none displayed the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
*No scientific support was found in any of the literature for charcoal providing any detoxification benefits to the teeth or oral mucosa.
*There were no reports that confirmed the claim made by 22 of the 50 vendors that charcoal based oral products unambiguously promoted antibacterial properties.
*The authors (noted below) conclude that
1. formal studies should be conducted to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy and safety of charcoal-based toothpastes and
2. claims of benefits are currently unproven.
3. there may actually be health risks associated with some of the 15 poly-aromatic hydrocarbons found in charcoal as well as other ingredients in some of the toothpastes.
In my opinion, patients should not begin ingesting charcoal or using it as a dental paste until further studies regarding its toxicity are completed.
Mark A. Penshorn, DDS October 2017
(Reference: John A. Brooks, DDS, Nasir Bushirelahi, PhD, Mark A Reynolds, DDS, PhD
“Journal of the American Dental Association”, September 2017, pg 148)