I get many patients asking what kind of toothpaste do I recommend. Many inquire about charcoal toothpaste. Activated charcoal has been a popular trend in many products, including beauty and toothpaste. The question is, does it work and is it safe?

Charcoal is mildly abrasive, so it will remove extrinsic stains from your teeth and can certainly help teeth look whiter. The problem is that charcoal is too abrasive for every day use, because charcoal over time will also permanently abrade away enamel and can expose the dentin (inner layer of the tooth). Consequently, this can cause gum recession, tooth sensitivity and pain.

In summary, while charcoal toothpaste can whiten teeth, I don’t recommend it for every day use. Switch between a milder toothpaste and use the charcoal toothpaste occasionally. Also, consider purchasing only soft bristle toothbrushes. Medium and hard bristle toothbrushes can also be too abrasive on teeth over time.

Dr. Ann Nguyen-Chung, Family Dentist & Founder of Hippotanicals

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