A recent trend in oral health has been that of using charcoal to accompany or even replace toothpastes however there are some risks associated with it’s use.
Charcoal is very abrasive and as a result can affect the surface of the teeth by beginning to wear away the shiny and protective outer layer (enamel) of the tooth. This damage can lead to abrasion wear facets, a matte/scuffed looking enamel and sensitivity. As well as wearing away the enamel of the tooth abrasion can also wear away the gums and cause recession, making the tooth appear longer and possibly exposing the neck of the tooth which is generally darker in colour than the enamel and more open to sensitivity.
In some cases charcoal may have a negative effect in the mouth including discolouration of non-natural material such as filling material. Some people, especially those that experience minor abrasions and ulcers may find that their soft tissue is also affected by charcoal as it may cause some irritation to these areas.
Studies are being currently being conducted and early results are showing that on a microscopic level the abrasives in charcoal products are doing significantly more damage to the surface enamel of the teeth than a standard toothpaste. There have been no proven studies to show whether clinically the charcoal in these products are effective in tooth whitening, oral hygiene and prevention.