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If you are looking for the safest and most effective way to brighten your smile, call Calgary dentist Dr. Jennifer Silver at (403) 278-1415 to schedule a cosmetic dentistry consultation today

Charcoal is an ingredient that can be found in some natural toothpastes.

Following a viral YouTube video in which a popular vlogger boasted that charcoal in toothpaste absorbs bacteria, eliminates toxins and, despite its dark color, whitens teeth perfectly, interest in this ingredient has increased significantly. Now, social media posts are common with people sharing pictures of brushing with a foaming, black substance. While the conversation might be interesting, you can’t believe everything that you see online.

Even though this trend is quite popular right now, is using charcoal to whiten your teeth a good idea? Today we are going to share the truth so you can make an informed decision regarding your dental health: is charcoal teeth whitening safe?

Why is Charcoal Used as a Teeth Whitening Treatment?

Charcoal is an ingredient that can be found in some natural kinds of toothpaste. Often, “activated charcoal” is advertised to be a natural solution for whiter teeth. This ingredient is a black powder with fine grains, often made from various organic compounds such as burned wood, olive pits, coconut shells, and peat. When the compounds are exposed to extreme heat, the powder is oxidized and becomes activated.

This process makes the activated charcoal highly absorbent and very porous. As a result, activated charcoal can bind to odors and toxins, which lends some credence to the claim that it helps keep teeth and gums free of bacteria. It works similarly to baking soda, as an abrasive residue that can polish stains away.

No Scientific Evidence

In the short-term, charcoal teeth whitening may be effective at removing stains from the surface of teeth. However, the long-term use of charcoal on the teeth is not yet known – and there is a fair amount of concern regarding its safety. The ADA has stated that the abrasive texture of activated charcoal can actually harm the teeth because they are worn down over time.

There is no scientific evidence showing that the use of charcoal for teeth whitening is a safe practice. In fact, many dental professionals have expressed concerns about the use of these natural teeth whitening products because of the long-term results that are occurring for some patients.

Charcoal may whiten teeth and bind certain toxins, but it can also erode tooth enamel and severely weaken the integrity of the teeth. Due to its abrasiveness, it may also cause teeth to look mottled or blotchy after it removes surface stains, and lead to yellowing and discoloration as it removes the enamel. For these reasons, avoiding charcoal in toothpaste is likely your best bet.

Is Charcoal Whitening Safe?

The truth is that you could be damaging your dental health by using toothpaste products that include activated charcoal as an ingredient. These are some of the most common dangers of activated charcoal for dental health:

  •       Enamel Erosion: Charcoal has abrasive qualities, which is why this ingredient can help to brighten the teeth. But you need to be aware that while the stains are removed, the product is also removing a bit of your tooth enamel every time you brush. Many dental professionals agree that charcoal dental products are too abrasive, causing enamel erosion over time. Eventually, your teeth will start to look more yellow because the enamel erosion exposes the yellow dentin underneath.
  •       Unsubstantiated Claims: Don’t trust the marketing messages that advertise charcoal whitening products. It’s been found that online ads have published unsubstantiated claims regarding the effectiveness of dental products with activated charcoal. The truth is that many of these products contain ingredients that can be quite harmful to your smile, especially when used for an extended period of time. For example, some of these charcoal products include bentonite clay, which often contains lead that can be toxic to humans.
  •       Higher Likelihood of Tooth Decay: It’s never a positive thing to hear a dentist say that you have a cavity that needs to be filled. One problem with using charcoal tooth whitening products is that they might increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay. Not only are the teeth more prone to decay because the enamel is worn down, but these products usually don’t include protective ingredients such as fluoride. If you want to make your teeth strong and resistant to cavities, it is important to use a toothpaste that includes fluoride, which provides the minerals needed to avoid tooth decay.

Healthy Living: Protect Your Teeth and Gums

Many people are changing beauty products in an effort to transition to a healthier way of living. We see “healthy living” trends over the years, and it seems that charcoal teeth whitening is one of the latest fads hitting the social media feeds. Even though this trend is growing in popularity, it is important to stay informed about the dangers of this practice. Talk to a dentist and ask: is charcoal teeth whitening safe?

Your goal is to protect your teeth and gums so that you can maintain a healthy, beautiful smile for many years. Instead of using an unproven, and potentially dangerous practice to clean and whiten your teeth, it’s better to talk to an experienced dental expert. If you are interested in creating a brighter smile, then the best choice is to protect your teeth by selecting a treatment that minimizes damage to dental enamel.

Safe Teeth Whitening: Avoid the Dangers of Charcoal Whitening

As you can see, charcoal products aren’t the best choice if you are looking for safe teeth whitening. Instead of risking your dental health by using an unproven treatment found online, it is best to stick to whitening treatments that are supported by scientific evidence.

If tooth staining or discoloration is marring your smile, Calgary dentist Dr. Jennifer Silver can help. Offering a range of tooth whitening options, Dr. Silver can safely and effectively brighten your smile and help you look your very best. These tooth whitening treatments can help to brighten the appearance of your teeth and boost overall confidence in your smile.

Some people feel that tooth whitening alone is insufficient to perfect their smile. Dr. Silver would be happy to discuss other cosmetic dentistry treatments – including tooth bonding and porcelain veneers – that can be used to whiten, strengthen, and enhance the overall beauty of your teeth.

If you are looking for the most effective tooth whitening options for your smile, please contact Southcentre Dental Clinic to schedule a consultation today. Dr. Silver provides cosmetic dentistry services to men and women living in Calgary and all surrounding areas of Alberta.