Can I use activated charcoal to whiten my teeth?

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Society is always looking for a way to get whiter teeth- as evident by the dozens of consumer products related to this, such as: whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, whitening gum, etc. And the faster the results are promised, the more people want the product. So, it’s no surprise a new teeth whitening process based around brushing with activated charcoal is sweeping the internet.

But what exactly is activated charcoal and is it something you should consider using on your teeth?

Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, is an extremely porous form of carbon. It is created from various carbon containing compounds, often plants, by heating and/or chemically treating the compound and essentially removing components until all that is left is “activated” carbon. The resulting activated carbon has dozens of commercial applications in a multitude of industries. In the hospital you might see them treat poison victims by using the activated carbon to absorb drugs/poison in the stomach. People seemed to reason that if activated charcoal can be used to adsorb poison and other compounds, why not use it to absorb stains on teeth? However, there are concerns with using it in this manner.

While it is true activated charcoal is very absorbent, it is also abrasive. It is similar to the type of charcoal you use in flame grills and if you’ve ever felt that, you know that it’s not a soft substance. This activated charcoal is being sold in a paste-type form and that is how most people are using it. Another method is getting charcoal tablets and mixing with water to create the paste. Either of these methods can be unsafe for your gums and teeth. Due to the abrasive nature of the charcoal, it has the possibility to erode enamel and cause receding gum lines—causing irreversible damage. As of now, there is little empirical evidence that brushing with activated charcoal can significantly whiten teeth, however, it is worth noting that there are numerous blogs and videos online of people advocating its effectiveness. But even if charcoal does whiten teeth, the possible damage to the teeth might not be worth the risk.

While the idea of being able to noticeably whiten teeth in a short amount of time is understandably appealing- there are safer approaches to whitening teeth than brushing with activated charcoal. You can find a lot of information on Google but if you need Professional Teeth Whitening, give us a call- it's an easy two-step process. 

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