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UK dentists urge patients to chuck away charcoal toothpastes

You only have to scroll through social media or read the health sections of magazines to stumble across articles or promotional adverts that feature charcoal toothpaste.

In the last few years, charcoal-based dental products have become incredibly popular, especially among young people who are looking to whiten their smiles. Although adverts make claims that using charcoal toothpaste will revolutionise the appearance of your smile, dentists are eager to set the record straight.

Scientists analysing the impact of charcoal toothpastes have recently published their findings in the British Dental Journal, and they support warnings and advisory notices issued by dentists and dental organisations over the course of the last couple of years. Researchers from the University of Manchester Dental School found that using charcoal whitening toothpaste is likely to have no real impact on the colour of the enamel, and perhaps, most importantly, they discovered that choosing these products could actually have an adverse effect on oral health.

During the trial period, researchers examined 50 different types of charcoal toothpaste. They concluded that far from offering health benefits outlined in adverts and marketing campaigns, they actually increased the risk of enamel wear and erosion and could elevate the risk of sensitivity and decay.

Dr Joseph Greenwall-Cohen, co-author of the study, explained that claims made by the manufacturers of these products were unfounded and warned people against products that contain charcoal.

One of the major draws for consumers is the claim related to whitening the teeth. Bright white smiles are in demand, and many young people who use sites like Instagram, which are popular bases for social media marketing campaigns, are swayed by the price and by promotional images. These photographs, which often feature celebrities like reality TV stars, are likely to be digitally enhanced or filtered to make the teeth look whiter, and there is also a chance that the celebrities chosen by companies have already had cosmetic dental work done.

To achieve a white smile safely, dentists recommend professional whitening treatments, which are administered by trained, qualified professionals who are registered with the General Dental Council.

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