Activated Charcoal: A Teeth-Whitening Secret or A Scam?

charcoal toothpaste tips calgary dentistYou have a great oral hygiene regime – you brush and floss. But there is one thing that continues to annoy you: discoloured and blemished teeth.

You have tried all the whitening strips, gels and pastes on the market but nothing seems to be making a difference.

Take a look on popular blogging sites and you will find the latest teeth-whitening trend. Activated charcoal, so vloggers and bloggers tell you, is the all-natural way of having a set of pearly whites in next to no time.

Containing no harsh chemicals or bleach, it seems a no-brainer. Some charcoal products are expensive, and require you to mix the powdered charcoal to a paste and then use as you would a toothpaste.

But before you run off and buy expensive activated charcoal for teeth cleaning, is it all as it seems?

The Whitening Promise

Activated charcoal has many uses, some of which are well-known and tested in the medical field.

Charcoal can act as a purifying agent that absorbs impurities. Charcoal filters are common in air filters and is used in various medical treatments in patients suffering accidental poisoning or a drug overdose.

Activated charcoal is different to the briquettes found in a BBQ, however. The surface of activated charcoal is full of small crevices that draw in and trap toxic substances. Acting like a sponge, there are research results that suggest almost half of the impurities, around 47%, can be soaked up by charcoal.

There has been a resurgence in the use of charcoal in beauty products, with charcoal-based face masks to face wash and now, as a tooth whitening products too.

The principle remains the same – activated charcoal allegedly sucks up all those stains on your teeth, leaving you with a row of dazzling white teeth, just what you have always wanted.

The Gritty Truth

Yes, say proponents of activated charcoal, it is a substance that can quickly work to strip your teeth of stains and blemishes. But dentists are cautious, and this is why;

There is no strong evidence that activated charcoal is actually good for the teeth at all.

Activated charcoal toothpastes are grainy and gritty, the abrasiveness of which could damage your gums and strip the enamel from your teeth.

Second, dentists worry that people are forgoing fluoride-based toothpastes for charcoal-based ones and this could spell disaster for your teeth in the future.

The important part of brushing and flossing your teeth is to remove plaque. The toothpaste you use delivers fluoride to your teeth, nature’s ‘cavity fighter’, and can cut tooth decay by 40%.

A Risk Worth Taking?

Man holding lumps of charcoal in his hand

Man holding lumps of charcoal in his hand

The lack of scientific evidence suggests that over-use of charcoal toothpastes can lead to damage to gums and tooth enamel.

Dentists express concerns that the action of charcoal based teeth cleaning products is overly abrasive. So what are the solutions to whitening your teeth – and safely?

Rather than being lured by advertising and promotional speak, visiting you dentist and sticking with prescribed and professional teeth whitening treatments is the safer way.