Why You Shouldn’t Use Charcoal to Whiten Your Teeth

If you’re considering teeth whitening, you may be wondering which methods are most effective. There are so many options to choose from that you may feel overwhelmed. Available methods include in-office whitening, at-home tray-based whitening, over-the-counter whitening gels and strips, and whitening toothpastes. A popular whitening toothpaste you may have seen includes activated charcoal as a main ingredient.

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a substance that can be made from coal, coconut shells, or wood pulp. It is usually in powder form, and it has a large surface area. This makes activated charcoal highly porous. There are various uses for activated charcoal, including using it for lowering cholesterol, treating indigestion and gas, improving kidney function, and whitening teeth.

What Are the Claims About Whitening with Charcoal?

Teeth become discolored or stained for a variety of reasons. These can include consuming dark foods or beverages, using tobacco, and poor dental hygiene.

When teeth get discolored, the stain may be on the surface of the enamel. This type of stain may respond to treatment methods such as using toothpaste or brushing. The stain could also be below the enamel on the layer called the dentin. This type of deeper stain can only be treated at a dental clinic.

Some product manufacturers claim that brushing with charcoal can help whiten your teeth. However, just because a product’s packaging makes a certain claim, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the product will have the desired effect.

Potential Risks of Brushing with Activated Charcoal

The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) reviewed clinical studies to determine whether the claims made about brushing with charcoal are valid. They determined that there is insufficient data to show that using charcoal is effective for whitening teeth. JADA also concluded that there is not enough clinical data to show that brushing with charcoal is safe.

In fact, research has shown that brushing with charcoal may actually be associated with risks, including:

  •   Making tooth enamel thinner. Enamel cannot be restored.
  •   Increasing tooth enamel roughness, which can lead to increased susceptibility to bacteria
  •   Potentially leading to other conditions, such as tooth sensitivity

It’s also important to note that charcoal toothpaste is not suitable for children to use.

Preventing Teeth Stains

The most effective way to have white teeth is to prevent discoloration in the first place. In order to do this, we recommend:

  •   Brushing and flossing your teeth twice each day
  •   Avoiding dark foods and drinks, including coffee, red wine, and tea
  •   Not using tobacco products, especially smoking
  •   Rinsing your mouth after consuming dark foods and drinks

By being aware of these things and putting them into practice, you can help keep your teeth white for many years.

Contact Babylon Dental Care Today

If you have questions about teeth whitening, we can help. Call us now at (631)983-6665 to speak with a Babylon Dental Care team member. We’re here for you and ready to schedule your next appointment.

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