Should I Use Charcoal Toothpaste and Whiteners?

Many patients have asked us about the current trend of using activated charcoal to clean and whiten their teeth. Dr. Sayeg has done some research and has found that there have not been studies that showed this was beneficial and some studies have shown that it may damage the enamel of your teeth.charcoal_LI

How is activated charcoal used?

Activated charcoal is made from coal, wood, peat, coconut shell, or petroleum—that is heated along with a gas, which makes the charcoal more porous. This helps activated charcoal “trap” chemicals, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Companies that make activated charcoal toothpaste also claim that the activated charcoal can remove toxins from the teeth and gums, which can lift stains from your teeth and leave you with a whiter smile.

What does the research show?

Studies are underway regarding its effectiveness as well as safety. So far research is showing that it is no more effective than other proven methods and could potentially damage the enamel on your teeth.

Researchers at the Creighton University School of Dentistry have found that charcoal toothpaste may do more harm than good.

“It’s been a big trend. You see a lot of patients coming into a dentist’s office and asking about it and wondering if and how it works, so we thought it was worth looking into,” said John Howell, one of six dental students on the project, which was overseen by professors Donald Scheidel, DDS, Sonia Rocha-Sanchez, PhD, and Martha Nunn, DDS, PhD.

“You might use it to get rid of some surface stains on the teeth from something like coffee,” Howell said. “Initially, it might help. But, as our experiments have demonstrated, there’ll be a cost.”

The researchers say the cost is pronounced wear of tooth enamel under the harsh scrubbing of the gritty charcoal. Under lab conditions simulating extended use of charcoal toothpaste by brushing for six minutes each day, the students observed significant loss of enamel and watched as the toothpaste made its way into the dentin of the teeth used in the experiment, leaving them with a gray to a yellow shade.

The continuous use of charcoal toothpaste caused the very discoloration that most people hope to ward off when they first start using it, the researchers said. Using an electron microscope in some trials, they added, they also could see the level of tooth abrasion on tooth enamel.

“Enamel does not grow back,” said student researchers Ben Huber. “And once the charcoal gets into the dentin, the teeth start to get gray.

Compared to more traditional whitening methods like strips or regular whitening toothpaste, the charcoal seemed to be a bit of a risk, the researchers said.

“There are other tooth-whitening options that could be safer and more effective,” said Howell.

The researchers further noted that the use of charcoal to whiten teeth isn’t a new practice. Student researcher Josh Hanson noted that it was one of many methods that patricians in ancient Rome used to clean their teeth.

“They also tried limestone,” Hanson said. “In fact, if you look on some toothpaste ingredient labels, you’ll see bicarbonate, which the Romans discovered in limestone as a cleaning agent. So maybe something was working there.”


Other research has also seen the same results and concluded further research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of using charcoal as a toothpaste and whitener. In the meantime, Dr. Sayeg recommends you use a sensitivity toothpaste and peroxide based teeth whiteners.


Taking Care of Your SMILE!

Even though we’ve been brushing and flossing our teeth for years and years, many of us are surprised to learn that we’re not doing it properly. Case in point: Did you know that proper brushing takes at least two minutes? Most adults do not come close to brushing that long.

These four steps are the best and easiest ways to help you remember how to care for your mouth, teeth and gums:

  • Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes, especially first thing in the morning and before bedtime!
  • Be sure to brush your tongue to remove odor causing bacteria!
  • Floss every day!
  • Limit the number of times you eat snacks each day – drink water or chew sugarless gum afterwards!
  • Do not drink sodas, juice, or sports/vitamin drinks throughout the day. Continual exposure to the sugar and acids can cause cavities!
  • Visit your dentist every six months for an oral exam and professional cleaning!


What is the Right Way to Floss?

Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gum line and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.

To receive maximum benefits from flossing, use the following proper technique:

  • Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with
  • Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth
  • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gum line. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth
  • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth


Introducing the Start Smiling Membership Plan!

Many of our patients without dental insurance have often asked us to fnd an insurance plan that would help them save money. While we have not come up with an outside plan that we could recommend, we instead have created a Membership Plan that will save you money.

These plans cover your regular preventative care as well as discounts off your restorative and cosmetic services.

Adult Membership Plan:

  • 1 preventative cleaning and periodic exam every six months
  • preventative x-rays as needed (Bitewings every year / Full Mouth Series once in three years)
  • 1 emergency visit and x-ray per year
  • 10% off all other needed treatment
  • 20% off all cosmetic services

Child Membership Plan:

  • 1 preventative cleaning and periodic exam every six months
  • preventative x-rays as needed (Bitewings every year / Full Moth Series once in five years)
  • 1 emergency visit and x-ray per year
  • 10% off any needed treatment
  • 20% off all cosmetic services

Signing up is easy! Just click the icon below! There are no waiting periods and you can schedule your first preventative visit right away!  Fell free to give us a call at 404-255-6782 if you have any questions.


Heroes Wanted!

Heroes Wanted!

Brushing Saves Your Smile – Swabbing Saves Lives!bonemarrow

Your dental visit is the perfect time to join the Bone Marrow Registry!  It’s super easy – just a swab of your inner cheek – and we will handle everything else.

What is the purpose of the registry?

Blood Cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths and kills more children than any other disease in the U.S.  When chemotherapy can’t beat it, a bone marrow transplant may be the patient’s best hope for survival. A bone marrow transplant can also be life-saving treatment for other diseases such as aplastic anemia and sickle cell disease. Due to the limited availability of matching donors, only half of those in need are able to get one. The registry helps expand the chances of a match and giving a patient the gift of a longer life.

Who can donate?

Eligible registrants must be:

  • Between the ages of 18-55
  • In good health
  • At least 105lbs
  • Willing to donate to any patient in need

How does it work?

At your next appointment we will review your commitments, have you fill out a form, and then provide you a swab (similar to a Q-tip) that gently rubs the inside of your cheek. We then package the swab and send it to the registry for you.

If you are one of the lucky one 1% of donors that becomes a match for a patient, the registry will contact you for further testing. Both the registry and the medical team will make sure you are still willing and able to donate and support you during the process.

What’s involved in a donation?

The donation process usually involves 1-2 days of your time with very minimal side effects.

There are two methods of donation

  • Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection (PBSC): A non-surgical outpatient procedure that collects blood stem cells via the bloodstream in a process similar to donating plasma or platelets.
  • Bone Marrow Donation: This is an outpatient surgical procedure under anesthesia where marrow cells are extracted via needle from your pelvic bone.

If you are interested in participating, please give us a call to schedule a time to stop by or you can just get swabbed at your next regular appointment.

Thank you!

The End of Year is Near!

There’s only 28 working days left to use your dental insurance and Flex benefits for 2017! Many of those days are booked or close to it!

Most dental benefits and Flex dollars do not carry over into 2018 and treatment must be started this year or they are lost.

Scheduling your appointment now ensures that you will:

  • Minimize your out-of-pocket expenses by taking advantage of any deductibles you’ve already met in 2017.
  • Increase possible tax deductions & utilitze remaining Flex $.
  • Maximize the benefits for the premiums you have paid toward your policy.
  • Perserve next year’s benefits in case of emergencies or other needed treatment.
  • Take care of your dental problems while they are still small & avoid painful toothaches and more costly/time comsuming treatment.

Please give us a call or email ASAP to reserve your time! (404-255-6782 or

Start Smiling Dental Holiday Schedule

For Thanksgiving – We will be closing on Wednesday 11/22 at 1pm and reopening on Monday 11/27 at 8am.

We will be open Mon-Fri in December up to 12/22!

Our office will be closed for the holidays as of December 22nd and will re-open on Tuesaday, January 2nd to give our team time with their families.

Check out our new website at!




Start Smiling Dental: 185 Allen Road, NE Suite 150 – Sandy Springs, GA 30328
ph: 404-255-6782 – email: