Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening: Is It Safe?

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You might be knowing that charcoal is currently one of the biggest trends in the world of cosmetics and wellness. It has become a trendy ingredient in commercial face scrubs and face masks, and some people also believe it can whiten their teeth. Activated charcoal, used in toothpaste and beauty products, is a fine grain powder. It is made from wood, coconut shells, and other natural substances that are oxidized under extreme heat.

There are many charcoal toothpaste products you may find online and in most drugstores today. Charcoal products are highly absorbent and used medically to absorb and remove toxins. But the question arises, does it really work for teeth whitening?

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Please note that activated charcoal should not be confused with the charcoal you use for barbecuing your food. Before you start brushing with this grainy black substance, read about a few things you should know about activated charcoal. Also, learn about the benefits and drawbacks of using charcoal toothpaste.

Activated Charcoal: An Overview

You might know that activated charcoal is a fine-grained black powder prepared from a variety of natural substances. The mixture is made from olive pits, coconut shells, slowly burned wood and peat.

The powder mixture becomes activated when oxidized under extreme heat conditions. Activated charcoal is very porous and acts as a highly absorbent material. It also has a wide surface area.

Unlike other absorbent substances, activated charcoal’s adsorbent properties allow it to bind to odors and toxins rather than soaking or absorbing them up. 

Quite similar, barbecue charcoal is solely manufactured to be a fuel. This charcoal emits carbon dioxide when heated. Remember that barbecue charcoal might have a carcinogenic effect on health. On the other hand, activated charcoal does not contain these types of toxins. They are mostly used to treat dental and other health conditions.

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Interestingly, activated charcoal’s adsorbent nature has been referenced in medical literature for centuries. You would be surprised to know that In the early 1800s, activated charcoal started to gain prominence. The charcoal was used for the treatment of accidental ingestion of poison.

Because its properties can stop certain types of poison from being absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream, it is still used extensively for this purpose even today. It can also effectively counteract drug overdoses.

There is even some scientific evidence about activated charcoal’s other benefits, especially in the dental field. These also include reducing underarm and is also used extensively as face masks.  

In addition, you can also find activated charcoal in shampoos and other facial products. Because of its unique ability to bind to toxins, some individuals believe activated charcoal can whiten teeth, too. Just read before you start bruising your teeth with this product.

Activated Charcoal for Teeth Whitening

You can find an array of dental products in the market containing activated charcoal, from toothpaste to kits. Most of these products containing charcoal as ingredients claim to remove wine stains, coffee stains, and even plaque. 

But despite its popularity, there is no scientific evidence backing up activated charcoal’s benefits for your teeth.

This is primarily because there is no data behind the claims that activated charcoal is effective or safe. Moreover, products that contain this ingredient are not eligible for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. In fact, according to ADA, activated charcoal’s abrasive texture is said even to harm rather than whiten your teeth by wearing down tooth enamel.

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Though there is a lack of scientific evidence, some individuals still believe that activated charcoal can eliminate tooth stains and even whiten teeth.

How Does Activated Charcoal Work?

The pores present in activated charcoal bind with rough parts on teeth, usually surface plaque and stains, making it easier to remove the yellowing substances. Once the charcoal has been given enough time to stick to your teeth surface, it can be removed. Meaning you can rinse your mouth after use. The mineral takes the food particles, plaque, and surface stains with it. 

This is the process of how the activated charcoal succeeds in whitening teeth, primarily by getting rid of surface stains in one fell swoop. However, because it sticks onto the rough areas found on your teeth, charcoal does not change the color of naturally yellowing or deeply stained teeth. You need to take more drastic whitening measures, such as professional bleaching for these deep stains.

The Pros of Using Activated Charcoal

You need to understand that the oral health benefits of using activated charcoal are apparent. But it is beneficial only when used along with regular oral hygiene habits, like regular brushing and flossing. So, if you are wondering if charcoal has real positive benefits, then the answer is yes. The product has several pros.

They clean certain stains off your tooth surface: Because of their abrasive nature, activated charcoal can effectively remove stains from the top layer of the teeth, the enamel.

The product is inexpensive. You can easily choose to buy activated charcoal toothpaste. Otherwise, you can mix charcoal directly with your regular toothpaste before use. Whichever you prefer, note that it is less expensive than a tooth whitening treatment.

In addition, it helps alleviate chronic bad breath or halitosis and helps lessen the toxins in your mouth. Charcoal also abrades and polishes your teeth: Due to its abrasive properties, the roughness of the charcoal works on the tooth’s exterior. As a result, your tooth gets smoothened with frequent brushing.

Cons of Activated Charcoal

Despite the multiple benefits of using charcoal, you also need to be aware of the limitations or disadvantages of the products. 

Charcoal does not whiten the teeth: Regardless of the marketing hype you see, activated charcoal does not effectively whiten your teeth. Yes, it does eliminate stains from your teeth’s surface. But remember, it cannot prevent or stop yellowing and other severe stains.

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There is no fluoride present in the charcoal toothpaste: Fluoride is essential for fortifying your teeth and fighting cavities. Many of the regular activated charcoal toothpaste might not contain fluoride, meaning it is a poor toothpaste option for daily use.

In addition, some are concerned that charcoal toothpaste can harm your enamel permanently: As discussed previously, charcoal is highly abrasive. Meaning it can slowly abrade your enamel with regular use. You cannot restore it, once your enamel is destroyed. Hope you know the truth. If enamel deterioration continues, it causes tooth sensitivity, tooth decay, gum disease, and painful dental diseases.

Is Activated Charcoal Safe to Use to Whiten Your Teeth?

Activated charcoal is perfectly safe to ingest. However, if you scrub the paste against your teeth, the abrasiveness of the mineral might damage the enamel. Be extra careful to lightly graze teeth when applying the charcoal to the teeth so that no scratching, chipping, or other damage occurs. Never perform this procedure if you have any open wounds, cuts, or abrasions in your mouth.

Do not fall for the marketing ads. Only your dentist should recommend the best toothpaste that suits your teeth. In fact, most dentists will not recommend activated charcoal primarily due to its abrasive nature, probably because it does not work as effectively as your regular fluoride toothpaste. In addition, there are risks that it might cause permanent damage to your teeth.

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So the best option is to follow your dentist’s suggestion if you ever need to whiten your teeth. Also, choose the toothpaste your dentist recommends.

Precautions for Using Activated Charcoal on Teeth

It is important for you to protect your teeth by using products that will not wear down the tooth enamel. Since overuse of charcoal products could lead to tooth erosion, use them cautiously.

However, the ADA recommends that you should choose toothpaste with a relative dentin abrasivity or RDA level of 250 or less. So when you are in the supermarket, try to choose charcoal toothpaste that meets these guidelines.

If that is not possible, even if you use the product, try using it only for a short period. In fact, you can also alternate it with fluoride toothpaste to reduce the negative effects.

To reduce abrasiveness, you can also try using your fingers to rub activated charcoal on your teeth rather than applying it with a toothbrush. This process would make a slight difference. 

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Also, note that the activated charcoal products are not approved for teeth whitening by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA. Moreover, you should not use these products on children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

This is because some activated charcoal products contain other ingredients, like sorbitol. Sorbitol, an artificial sweetener, might cause allergic reactions in some people. It might also have a laxative effect if you swallow too much of the substance. 

Final Thoughts

Activated charcoal has some proven uses for other parts of the body. But for teeth whitening Dubai, it is not one of the recommended products. Instead, it would be best if you look for products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Even if you decide to try activated charcoal to whiten your teeth, use the substance only in moderation and for a short period. Activated charcoal is abrasive, and therefore, you should never try using it long, as it can erode tooth enamel.

It is best to discuss with your dentist before using activated charcoal products. Consider checking in with your dentist to determine if it is the right choice for you. Your dentist can only confirm if the treatment is safe for you to try. They can also discuss other alternatives for you, which might be a better option.

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