Are charcoal toothbrushes worth the hype?

Written by Dr. Apurva Chavan

October 17, 2020

There is a plethora of charcoal toothbrushes in the market right now. Almost every brand has climbed the charcoal bandwagon. So what makes these brushes so special? Or do you just use a charcoal toothbrush because you like the color black? Or may be, you think charcoal works for your skin so it might work good for your teeth as well?

Companies claim that these brushes can remove stains, give you fresher breath, and remove bacteria. How does that happen?

Charcoal or activated carbon is known to be a potent anti-bacterial agent. It is made by oxidizing organic materials like coconut shells or bamboo or olive etc. In this form, the charcoal is nothing more than an abrasive agent. When heated to a high temperature it gets ‘activated’. Activation makes it porous and gives it all the useful properties.

Stain removal

Activated charcoal removes stains with its abrasive properties. It is also known to bind the acidic contents of common beverages like coffee, tea wine, etc. thus reducing stains and whitening your teeth

Bacteria removal

Activated charcoal traps bacteria in its porous structure and does not let them come out. This reduces the number of bacteria in your mouth with regular use.

Fresh breath

It is the bad bacteria in your mouth that is the major cause of your bad breath. When the charcoal reduces bacteria, bad breath they automatically reduce with them. It also discourages bacteria from growing on your toothbrush in between uses.

All of these properties are excellent and seem inviting enough to switch over to charcoal brushes. However, there are a few downsides to them as well – 

So be aware! 

Activated charcoal is an abrasive agent and can be very harsh when not used correctly. It can erode the enamel that is the upper layer of your teeth, making your teeth vulnerable to cavities and sensitivity. These effects will be even more pronounced when you use a charcoal toothbrush with charcoal powder or toothpaste. So avoid using both of them together.

Charcoal confetti

The brush bristles are infused with charcoal particles . But if you use the brush aggressively the small particles will come loose and start staining your sink when you rinse them out. If accidentally ingested, these particles can also bind with certain medicines and render them ineffective.

Some popular charcoal brushes available in the market are 

Colgate slim soft charcoal toothbrushes

This is a soft thin bristled toothbrush perfect for people with bleeding gums and other gum issues. It gently cleans your gum area and keeps it bacteria-free.

Colgate zig-zag charcoal toothbrushes

This toothbrush has medium hardness bristles arranged in a criss-cross arrangement. This gives a multi-angle cleaning action and is especially good for uneven teeth.

Brands like Oral – B, even Miniso, and amazon brand Solimo have charcoal versions. If used correctly charcoal brushes can be a great addition to your oral hygiene routine. If used incorrectly they will do more harm than good. 
So be wise and use with caution.

Highlights

  • Charcoal toothbrushes have infused charcoal particles.
  • Charcoal is an abrasive agent that helps in removing the stains on the teeth.
  • One should also be careful of not brushing too hard as abrasive agents can erode the enamel layer of your teeth and invite problems like teeth sensitivity and cavities.
  • Slim and soft bristled charcoal toothbrushes are a better choice and are effective in removing the plaque on the teeth surfaces if you use the right brushing technique.

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Author Bio: Dr. Apurva Chavan is a dentist by the day and a voracious reader and writer by the night. She loves to fix smiles and tries to keep all her procedures as pain free as possible. Equipped with over 5 years of experience she loves to not just treat her patients but also educate them about dental hygiene and appropriate maintanence routines. After a long day of preserving smiles she loves to curl up with a good book or pen down some of life’s musings. She strongly belives that learning never stops and likes to keep her self updates with all the latest dental news and research.

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