New review casts doubt on the efficacy of charcoal toothpastes

14 May 2019
3 min read

The review casts serious doubts on the marketing and benefits of such products.

Dentists are also urged to educate their patients about unproven oral health benefit claims and the possible health risks associated with the use of charcoal pastes and powders, which could also potentially increase the risk of developing tooth decay from use of non-fluoridated toothpaste, or possibly because the charcoal can deactivate the fluoride products inside the toothpaste.

Charcoal-based toothpastes and powders are promoted worldwide to consumers as fashionable oral health products, intended for tooth brushing, extrinsic stain removal and, mainly, tooth whitening.

The 2019 review ‘Charcoal-containing dentifrices’ by Greenwall provides an up-to-date overview of current knowledge and understanding of charcoal toothpastes and powders, considering all available evidence from 15 previous reviews and studies to assess claims made by the manufacturers of these products. The new study’s conclusion is that charcoal-based products may be over-reliant on marketing gimmicks and ‘folklore’ to substantiate their claims and that consumers must be educated better on ingredients before using them, especially if there is potential for increased abrasivity.

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