You’ve tried it all! Fluoride washes, whitening strips, brushing consistently, quitting coffee for a week – the list goes on and on. Nothing has been able to get your pearly whites as pearly white as you’d like them to be. Teeth whitening fads come and go, but it’s important to be informed before you take a risk with your health.
You’ve heard of the whitening pen, that literally paints your teeth white, now, white-teeth fanatics are taking it to a whole new level. The newest trend in teeth whitening is brushing with activated charcoal. Does it sound messy? Yes. Is it harmless? Well, we’re not sure yet.
You’ve long associated charcoal with the black stuff you use to grill at a cookout. Its associated with burgers and hot dogs and barbeque grills. Activated charcoal is completely different from that kind of charcoal, so rest assured. Activated charcoal has actually been noted for its healing properties in other areas, like treating accidental overdoses or poisonings, because of its properties that help it absorb chemicals. This is where the idea that it can also remove chemicals and other bad stuff off of your teeth, as well.
While the do-it-yourself route that has become most popular is through opening a charcoal tablet and brushing your wet teeth with it, medical professional have some concerns. Activated charcoal powder while it can ideally leave you with freshly whitened teeth, is incredibly abrasive. This could put your tooth’s enamel and overall health in jeopardy.
Then, there are the side effects that could potentially affect you should you ingest any activated charcoal. While it is meant to be rinsed from your teeth completely, accidental ingestion of activated charcoal could cause diarrhea, vomiting or other severe gastrointestinal issues.
The short answer: Yes, activated charcoal can help your teeth look noticeably whiter – but the dangers outweigh the benefits. Dental professionals advise that until there can be more testing to definitively know if this could or could not cause long-term damage to enamel, that you proceed with caution. If you really want to try this new fad, look for a reputable brand of toothpaste that contains activated charcoal and run it by your dentist just to be safe. Happy brushing!
Talk to a dental professional today if you want to learn more about whitening procedures and the safety concerns around activated charcoal. Please call our office in Minneapolis-St. Paul at (651) 646-2392 or schedule your appointment with Dr. Steven Hagerman online.