You may have seen some pictures on Instagram or YouTubers posting videos of the latest, greatest dental trend - charcoal toothpaste. Move over oil-pulling ... this DIY whitening trend consists of smearing a charcoal-derived black mixture on your teeth and brushing with it. 

Proponents of the technique claim that because these mixtures are highly absorbent they can naturally solve surface stains. In fact, there are already medical applications for charcoal, like absorbing poisons in an accidental poisoning. Many "reviewers" online brush their teeth for 3-5 minutes with the mixture and then have seemingly whiter teeth afterwards. 

Currently, the American Dental Association has not evaluated or approved of charcoal toothpaste. In fact, a representative for the ADA has commented saying the trend is concerning because its abrasiveness is not yet known and could be causing damage to people's teeth. Did you know, teeth are the only part of our bodies that does not replenish or heal itself. Once they are gone or damaged, it's a done deal. Of course, we can help correct any problems, but we'd rather see them avoided in the first place. But this means your teeth are usually not where you want to do any experiments. Fun new hair color or crazy nails? Yes! They grow back. Your teeth - not so much.

Whitening your teeth can happen in two ways. One, by scrubbing surface stains. Or two, by bleaching to actually change the color of the dentin. The later method is many times more effective. Charcoal tooth paste only claims to affect surface stains anyway, so if you're looking for real results, consider a professional whitening systems. These penetrate the enamel making teeth 3-8 times shades whiter, with effects that last years. 

We've concluded that there is not enough evidence available yet to know if the supplement is hazardous, beneficial or benign. Our vote: wait until there are more studies (if that even happens before it falls out of favor). In the meantime, there are plenty of proven techniques and products for whiter teeth. Ask us at your next appointment about whitening options. We offer three levels to meet your needs and budget. As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.