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When it comes to oral hygiene, black is the new white—literally. Black charcoal-based toothpastes have been taking bathroom sinks by storm. Activated charcoal has found its way into everything, from toothpastes and mouthwash to face masks and hand creams.
So, why is the wellness industry apparently taking advice from The Rolling Stones to Paint it Black? Well, use of activated charcoal dates back to the early 1700s. The black powder has been used for hundreds of years, and we’re continuing to harness some of its many benefits now.
If you’ve been interested in trying charcoal toothpaste for yourself, you may have seen warnings about brushing too often. We’ll take a look at the safety of natural activated charcoal toothpaste, what it’s used for, and how to incorporate the natural and healthy whitening power into your daily brushing (SPOILER ALERT: our Brilliant Black Toothpaste has been clinically tested and is safe for enamel).
What is Activated Charcoal Anyway?
Activated charcoal is also known as activated carbon and is created by applying high heat (i.e. burning) wood, coal, or coconut shells. After being subjected to heat, these materials become highly porous and now have several small holes.
Acting as a detoxifier, the tiny pores can trap chemicals and toxins and help them pass through the body. Before being used in oral care and beauty products, activated charcoal was commonly used to mitigate the effects of harmful substances, as a way to rid the body of certain types of poisoning.
In fact, activated charcoal has even been used in cases where someone has alcohol poisoning. Not surprising, it has also been touted a “miracle remedy” for hangover prevention.
When it comes to our teeth, the detoxifying effects are one of the main reasons we’re finding activated charcoal in our toothpaste. Activated charcoal is negatively charged, meaning that not only do the small pores trap and remove chemicals, toxins, plaque, and free radicals, but the negative charge helps, too.
Why is There Activated Charcoal in My Toothpaste? One way that activated charcoal works to promote good oral health is by absorbing dyes and pigments that have stained teeth. This helps to remove the stains caused by things like coffee, tea, and wine. Not only is stain removal an important way to keep your teeth looking whiter, but it also keeps them healthier, too.
Packing another punch for good oral health, toothpaste with charcoal has been shown to promote fresh breath and help remove acidic plaque. Orally given activated charcoal helps the body get rid of acidic compounds and helps to alkalize (increase) the pH of your mouth.
Through this process, activated charcoal binds to the components that give you bad breath—means that it can help someone who suffers from halitosis.
Is Activated Charcoal Safe?
One of the ways that activated charcoal helps to remove surface stains is due to its abrasive properties. Like with many toothpastes or heavy brushing, too much abrasion is bad for your teeth and can, over time, wear down your enamel.
Good thing for us, there’s a way we can work out how abrasive our toothpaste is (without requiring a trip to the dentist). Toothpaste is tested and assigned a Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) and Relative Enamel Abrasion (REA) number.
The RDA number will generally range from 4 (toothbrush with plain water) to the American Dental Association’s upper limit of 250. REA values run from 0 to 10, all within the recommended safety limits set forth by the ADA.
Generally speaking, if you’re using a toothpaste to whiten your teeth, you’ve typically chosen one with a higher RDA value—and this goes for charcoal teeth whitening toothpaste, too. Whitening toothpastes generally have a score of around 101 to 150, and normal toothpastes typically sore lower than 100.
How Often Should I Brush?
Some charcoal toothpaste contains scary ingredients, which might make you think twice about brushing with it every day. Chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate and artificial sweeteners can be found in some charcoal toothpastes—even those that claim to be ‘natural.’
Additionally, because it can be more abrasive than other types of toothpaste, some people prefer to use charcoal toothpaste less often, only brushing with it two or three days a week.
If you would like to use your charcoal toothpaste daily, you should be careful while doing so. What does this mean? Don’t brush hard! Use gentle, circular strokes and be sure to rinse completely so that you don’t see any remaining hints of black on your teeth.
Other people, especially those who have had enamel issues in the past, might want to try smearing it on their teeth. Let it sit, like a paste, on your teeth for five to ten minutes. The absorption properties will still work their magic, without being too abrasive.
Terra & Co. and Third-Party Clinical Testing So, where does our Brilliant Black Toothpaste stand? Well, you can rest assured knowing that our products have been clinically tested by an independent, third-party lab.
· Our toothpaste received an RDA value of 103, well under the ADA’s upper limit of 250 and lower than some other charcoal-based toothpastes.
· The REA of our toothpaste is 4.64, which is safely within ADA safety recommendations.
What Makes Terra & Co. Truly Special?
Remember how we mentioned some sketchy ingredients earlier (sodium lauryl sulfate, etc.)? Well, our Brilliant Black Toothpaste comes packed with all the good stuff and leaves out anything that you can’t pronounce and isn’t natural.
The activated charcoal is combined with baking soda to whiten and polish the teeth. Organic coconut oil is packed with antiviral and antifungal properties to help remove plaque, promote healthy gums, and whiten teeth. Peppermint and tea tree oil are a great natural way to help you feel fresh and clean and remove nasty bacteria.
Our toothpaste is proudly made in the USA and is vegan, gluten free, and made without animal testing. Even better, the sugar cane tube is 100% recyclable. Sugar cane is made out of waste from the sugar industry and uses 70% less fossil fuels than normal plastic tubes. Once empty, just snip off the top, rinse with water, and put it into your recycling bin. Now that’s what we call sustainable oral care.