Charcoal Teeth WhiteningRecently, the question came out about using activated charcoal to whiten your teeth. The tooth whitening market is huge; the over-the-counter tooth whitening industry is worth about a billion dollars a year.  If charcoal was safe, effective and supported by research, then the big brands would have put it on the market and they haven’t.

How Charcoal Teeth Whitening Works

Using charcoal isn’t new; this technique is a rebirth of ancient medicine.  Charcoal particles are effective only when they are activated. The particles bind to everything in its way, including stains, bacteria, plaque and other elements that are found inside your mouth. You might get whiter teeth by removing the outside stain and plaque on your enamel.  However, you need to remember that the stained particles can go deeper in the tooth to the dentin layer (the layer underneath your enamel).  So using activated charcoal may only give you whiter smile temporarily.

Concerns About Using Charcoal to Whiten Teeth

There are additional concerns about the charcoal tooth whitening method. These concerns include the loss of healthy teeth elements, the removal of good bacteria that help with digestion, and the danger of the non-activated charcoal particles.  Also, taking activated charcoal may cause gastrointestinal side effects like constipation, diarrhea, darkening of the stool or vomiting. Serious complications such as bowel obstruction have been reported. It may also cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. None of those potential side effects are worth the risk when safe, fast, and effective teeth-whitening methods are easily available.

The ADA and Charcoal Teeth Whitening

The American Dental Association (ADA) doesn’t approve of using activated charcoal to whiten teeth.  More research needs to be done to assess the risks and benefits of this technique. There are a lot of tooth whitening products that are proven to be safe and effective by independent testing agencies. My professional advice is to ask your dentist about proven teeth whitening methods. Have questions about proven teeth whitening methods? Contact our dental office in Fontana today!

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