• January 26, 2020
activated charcoal

You may have recently seen tooth paste or powder containing activated charcoal promoted on Instagram or another social media platform. This hot teeth-whitening hack quickly jumped from the Internet to the dental care aisle in retail shops. Do these new fad products live up to their hype to give you a whiter, brighter smile?

The concept itself seems counter intuitive. The activated charcoal in the paste or powder is dark black, just like the charcoal you use for backyard barbeques. Your mouth quickly turns to a murky sea of black foam. The activated charcoal purported to absorb stains from the surface of teeth. Some claim you should be able to see results after just one use.

A Far From “Natural” Product

Activated charcoal is not a natural product. Rather it is manufactured by expanding the surface of charcoal by exposing it to heat of some other activating agent to cause a complex chemical reaction.

There is no research to back up the claim that activated charcoal is an effective tooth whitener.

More worrisome is the abrasiveness of the charcoal, which can damage the enamel of teeth during the brushing process. According to researchers in an article published in the British Dental Journal, activated charcoal toothpaste does live up to its promise to whiten teeth, but can also cause serious damage to the surface of teeth and gums.

They also found that activated charcoal may actually have the opposite effect and leave a stain on tooth enamel or lead to tooth decay. That’s not the kind of smile you want to feature in your social media feed!

Another concern is that the few activated charcoal toothpastes that contain fluoride are providing a false sense that you’re getting the substance you need for long-term oral health. Instead, the charcoal is likely nullifying the properties of the fluoride, making it ineffective.

Best To Seek A Dental Professional

As with any cosmetic work on teeth, it’s best to consult a dental professional before undertaking any course of treatment, even if products are available over the counter. If you’re looking for teeth whitening services near Joliet, call Shorewood Family Dental Care at 815-725-5991 or book an appointment online.