BBC News Online (UK) (5/10) reported a review in the British Dental Journalclaims charcoal-based toothpastes are a “marketing gimmick” with no scientific evidence to support claims they whiten teeth. The authors add that the toothpastes may increase the risk of tooth decay and staining, and that “excessive brushing with them can do more harm then good.”

MarketWatch (5/10, Pesce) reported a 2017 study in The Journal of the American Dental Association analyzed more than 100 articles on charcoal and charcoal-based toothpastes and powders and determined there was “insufficient clinical and laboratory data” to support charcoal toothpaste’s safety or effectiveness, and warned dentists and patients to “be cautious” in using them. American Dental Association spokesman Dr. Matt Messina told MarketWatch, “Not only is it not beneficial, but it’s potentially dangerous.” He added, “This is where I have to speak out, and where the [dental] profession has to speak out.” The ADA instead “recommends speaking with your dentist about your teeth whitening options, which can depend upon the severity of your stains as well as any underlying health issues that could be discoloring your teeth. Or select a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which verifies that the toothpaste is safe and lives up to its claims.”

Dental professionals can find additional information on whitening on an ADA Science Institute-developed Oral Health Topics page. The ADA also offers a brochure, Tooth Whitening for a Better Smile.

Dental professionals can direct their patients to, ADA’s consumer website, for evidence-based information about teeth whitening, including information on natural teeth whitening methods. The ADA provides a complete list of toothpastes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, including some with stain removal attributes.