Do Not Use Charcoal Briquettes to Brush Your Teeth: The Sacramento Dentistry Group Provides a Warning

Although charcoal is an increasingly popular ingredient in toothpastes and tooth powders (dentifrices), it is not the same material that you find in charcoal briquettes. This article explains why.

Charcoal is currently a fad ingredient in some tooth whitening and toothpaste products, called dentifrices by dentists. When properly processed from natural woods and designed for human consumption, such food grade charcoal is not likely to cause harm, but it is also unlikely to be better, and may be worse, than toothpastes and whiteners approved by the American Dental Association. Yet a recent inquiry came to the Sacramento Dentistry Group website asking if a person could use commercial charcoal briquettes for brushing their teeth. The answer to this question must be “Absolutely not!”

Charcoal Briquettes Are Only for Barbecuing

When charcoal is processed for barbecuing, other ingredients are mixed in besides charred wood. Binders hold the ground up wood together. Fillers that burn easily are added to help light the briquettes. And some charcoal products are even made with lighter fluid. Although safe for use in cooking, these briquettes or lumps of charcoal are certainly not guaranteed to be safe for human consumption; nor will you see printed on any bag of barbecue charcoal that the product is designed for cleaning your teeth.

Charcoal purchased for oral hygiene is either in a powder form or is included as an ingredient in a dentifrice. It essentially looks and behaves like other tooth powders or pastes. It does not have to be taken out of a bag and ground up in order to use it. Whether or not such charcoal hygiene products are effective was examined in a study published by the Journal of the American Dental Association. This 2017 report stated: “The results of this literature review showed insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy claims of charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices.” In addition, it recommended that dentists “advise their patients to be cautious when using charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices with unproven claims of efficacy and safety.”

Therefore, charcoal briquettes should be saved for the grill. Any charcoal used in the mouth should be designed for human consumption. Yet the simplest way to brush your teeth is with approved products available at any market or pharmacy. For advice on which dentifrice to choose and whether it is safe, contact the Sacramento Dentistry Group at 916-538-6900 or by using their website.

Source: Sacramento Dentistry Group