Purple Toothpaste: Is It Safe?

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You may have seen purple toothpaste at your local drugstore and wondered-what is it? Is purple toothpaste something new or just a gimmick? With fun colors and claims of extra stain removal or whitening power, purple toothpaste is designed to catch your eye. But is this colorful dental product good for your teeth or even safe to use?

As awareness of oral health rises, specialty toothpastes like purple toothpaste have surged in popularity. Proponents of purple toothpaste claim that it works better than plain old mint toothpaste to remove stains, whiten teeth naturally and promote healthy gums.

The unusual purple color certainly makes this toothpaste stand out. But along with the buzz around purple toothpaste come questions - is purple toothpaste worth trying and is purple toothpaste safe?

Before you switch out your usual Colgate for a tube of purple paste, it's important to examine the facts. We'll explore what exactly purple toothpaste is, its purported benefits, risks of purple toothpaste, and whether it's ultimately safe for daily use on your pearly whites. Let's review the evidence to determine if purple toothpaste is a healthy way to care for your smile or just a flashy fad.

What Is Purple Toothpaste?

Purple Toothpaste Benefits

So what makes purple toothpaste purple? Most purple toothpastes get their vibrant color from activated charcoal, a fine black powder believed to have many uses, including teeth whitening.

Along with charcoal, many purple toothpastes contain baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and other ingredients touted to remove stains, kill bacteria, reduce plaque, and leave teeth whiter.

Manufacturers of charcoal toothpaste claim that activated charcoal has porous properties that help it bond to stains on teeth and lift them away. Charcoal toothpaste fans say that this gentle abrasion can leave you with a brighter, whiter smile over time.

Out of all the different specialty toothpaste on the market, charcoal-based ones are some of the most popular - though some dentists argue there's little evidence to back up whitening claims.

Along with charcoal, many natural purple toothpastes contain baking soda, an ingredient often used as a mild abrasive in tooth whitening toothpastes. Hydrogen peroxide may also be added to purple toothpaste as an extra whitening agent.

So in summary - the purple color comes mainly from added activated charcoal, while presumed whitening benefits come from abrasives like charcoal plus hydrogen peroxide.

Is Purple Toothpaste Worth Trying?

With its striking color and claims of whitening and polishing teeth, purple toothpaste sure sounds appealing. But is purple toothpaste more effective than traditional toothpaste? Is the hype around charcoal toothpaste justified?

Some limited studies have found that charcoal-based toothpaste may help remove surface stains from teeth more effectively than non-whitening types of toothpaste.

However, other studies show little difference compared to using regular toothpaste. Most dentists maintain that activated charcoal itself has never been clinically proven to whiten teeth better than other whitening ingredients like hydrogen peroxide or baking soda.

Many independent product testers and consumer websites give charcoal toothpaste high marks for short-term teeth whitening, stain removal, and fresher breath. However, some testers note messiness and black charcoal residue left behind on sinks and toothbrush bristles after brushing.

While charcoal toothpaste can make teeth appear whiter temporarily, long-term safety is a greater concern for your dental health. Ultimately, most mainstream dentists do not recommend charcoal toothpaste over traditionally formulated ones.

But if you're curious about the buzz around purple toothpaste, want to try removing some surface stains, or just want to shake up your oral care routine, activated charcoal toothpaste may be worth experimenting with. Just be sure to consult your dentist first.

Is Purple Toothpaste Safe?

Now that we know how charcoal makes toothpaste purple, let's dig into the central question around this unique dental product - is purple toothpaste safe for everyday use? Since specialty toothpaste like charcoal isn't rigorously studied or FDA-approved the way over-the-counter drugs are, the answer isn't quite clear-cut.

According to most dental organizations and tooth experts, charcoal-based toothpaste poses more potential harm than benefits when used long-term. Here are a few of the most concerning risks of using purple charcoal toothpaste regularly:

  • Erosion of Tooth Enamel: Even fine powders can be abrasive enough to gradually wear away protective enamel over time. One study found that activated charcoal toothpaste is significantly more abrasive than conventional or whitening toothpaste. Enamel erosion can increase tooth sensitivity and decay risks.
  • Tooth Decay Risk: Charcoal particles may get caught in pits and grooves on teeth, allowing cavity-causing bacteria to accumulate in tiny crevices. Without careful brushing, charcoal residue could raise your dental decay risk.
  • Gum and Mouth Irritation: Common additives in charcoal toothpaste, like essential oils and coconut oil can irritate sensitive gums. Swishing abrasive charcoal also raises the chances of mouth sores or irritated oral tissue.
  • Ingestion Concerns: Accidentally swallowing activated charcoal has been associated with intestinal blockages and slowed medication absorption. While small ingestions aren't harmful for most people, it's still a risk.

As with any health fad, it's wise to get trusted medical advice about possible downsides before jumping on the bandwagon. Consult your dentist about whether trying specialty toothpaste could be bad for your unique oral health situation. If you have issues like tooth sensitivity, gum disease, or dental work like crowns or veneers, charcoal-based pastes are riskier and best avoided.

Conclusion

With its eye-catching dark color and claims of whitening power, it's no wonder purple charcoal toothpaste has intrigued so many bathroom shoppers. Part of toothpaste's appeal lies in its low cost, ease of use, and perceived safety compared to more complex teeth whitening treatments. However, don't let the “natural” angle distract you from potential oral health risks linked to using charcoal powder abrasives twice daily.

While limited evidence suggests activated charcoal may modestly boost surface stain removal, more research on long-term impacts is needed. Without quality safety data, both the FDA and ADA advise caution regarding habits like swishing liquid charcoal or brushing with charcoal powder frequently. Other teeth-whitening options like hydrogen peroxide strips tend to be better studied and recommended by professionals.

Mild, short-term charcoal toothpaste use is unlikely to harm dental health for most people, especially if done under a dentist's guidance. However, repeated exposure to abrasives could backfire by eroding protective enamel over time. As with any unregulated dental product lacking large-scale safety studies, it's wisest to take a “less is more” approach with charcoal toothpaste.

Ultimately, when it comes to charcoal toothpaste risks versus rewards, safety should trump clever marketing claims. Don't let the dark side of purple toothpaste seduce you into compromising precious dental health. Still intrigued by this black and purple paste? Seek trusted guidance to make an informed choice on what's best and wisest for your smile.

Reference

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Dr. Philipp Jefferson is a practicing dentist with over 20 years of experience treating patients and specializing in restorative and cosmetic dentistry procedures. He earned his DDS from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where he graduated with honors. Dr. Thomas is an active member of the American Dental Association and his local dental society.

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