Some things are counter-intuitive, like mud baths that cleanse, stinky cheeses that taste good and now, charcoal as an ingredient that gets your teeth whiter. With this trend making its way into Texas, we wanted to get a better idea of what all the fuss is about. Unfamiliar brands are beginning to pop up, and even common brands like Colgate are touting charcoal as the next big thing for oral hygiene — so what’s the deal?
Curaprox USA, a branch of the Swiss company Curaprox, is one of the leading brands that’s offering a natural way for Texans to remove dental stains and maintain oral health with activated charcoal. Their toothpaste is called Black is White, and it may be worth looking into.
“Some people just can’t get their head around it, but most people really like it the more they understand it and see the results,” says Patrice N. Le Maire, an international brand expert and head of Curaprox USA. “This novel and natural way of whitening your teeth back to the original color – the shade of a baby’s teeth – continues Curaprox’s four-and-a-half-decade run of lifestyle products for oral health.”
What seems new to 21st century Texans is actually old and — in some opinions — proven, but not everyone is convinced this is the way to go. Activated charcoal particles absorb dirt and discoloration particles like a vacuum cleaner. It’s something that societies knew centuries ago. Dr. Peter Auster, cosmetic dentist and founder/president of the Empire State Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry expressed his concerns with the revival of older methods in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar.
“Activated charcoal toothpastes (which I’m calling black sludge from this point onward) are a rebirth of ancient medicine techniques,” He explained. “In theory, the black sludge binds to everything in its path—stains, tartar, bacteria, viruses (and maybe even your tonsils). As it takes tartar off the teeth, your teeth will get whiter, which is a positive, of course, but it may also bind to medications that the body needs to absorb and even bacteria that you need for digestion. And additionally, it just might not work. A big risk is that non-activated charcoal is extremely dangerous and there isn’t proof that some manufacturers are using the correct type of charcoal. The tooth whitening market is a billion dollar industry, so if it was fully safe and effective, the big brands would be using it.”
Most of today’s whitening toothpastes contain abrasive particles such as chalk, silicates, pumice or bentonite; or they bleach using chemical agents such as peroxide. But bleaching agents change both gums and tooth enamel, and also adversely affect the mucous membrane lining the inside of the mouth. The danger with abrasive particles is that, in addition to removing discoloration, they also erode the enamel.
“Black Is White removes stains using activated carbon – without abrasive agents and without bleach,” Le Maire says. “The typical Black Is White user is younger. You can keep all of your fun habits, such as drinking red wine and espresso with dessert, without worrying about stained or eroding teeth.”
We’re planning to get out hands on some of this stuff soon, so stay tuned for a review.