Can Charcoal Safely Whiten Your Teeth?
April 3, 2022
It seems like there’s always some sort of new trend floating around the Internet these days. One that you might’ve seen lately is people using activated charcoal on their teeth, claiming that it will help to whiten them. But can this grainy black substance safely and effectively whiten your teeth, or is it just another Internet myth that people falsely buy into? Here’s what your dentist wants you to know about using activated charcoal to whiten your teeth and why you should consider forgoing it.
What Exactly Is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal is different than the charcoal you use for barbecuing; it’s a fine-grained black powder that’s made from a variety of natural substances. The powder becomes activated when it’s oxidized under extreme heat. It’s very porous and high adsorbent, meaning it binds to toxins and odors rather than absorbing them. This has led to people believing it can promote their health and whiten their teeth—thus, it’s present in many items including facial masks, shampoos, and oral cleaning products.
Does Activated Charcoal Really Whiten Your Teeth?
In recent years, toothbrushes and toothpastes with activated charcoal have become quite popular, as users claim they’re very effective at removing things like coffee stains, wine stains, plaque, and more. However, there is no research backing up activated charcoal’s benefits for teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) has not approved any of these products—yet people keep using them, based on anecdotal evidence rather than scientific evidence.
Is It Safe to Use Activated Charcoal on Your Teeth?
It’s very important to use oral cleaning products that ensure the preservation of your tooth enamel. The ADA suggests that activated charcoal’s abrasive texture might be harmful to your teeth, as it can wear down your enamel, weakening your teeth and causing them to eventually turn yellow. Consider selecting a toothpaste with a relative dentin abrasivity (RDA) of 250 or below—activated charcoal toothpastes often don’t fall below this threshold.
How To Safely Whiten Your Teeth
There are many ways to brighten your smile that don’t involve activated charcoal, including:
- Baking soda, which is found in many toothpastes.
- Diluted hydrogen peroxide.
- Over-the-counter whitening strips, gels, and toothpastes.
- Visiting your dentist for in-office or at-home whitening (this is the best, most effective way to achieve the results you want).
Even though some people swear by the benefits of using activated charcoal on their teeth, it’s important to know the facts about this method’s safety and effectiveness. There are many other, more proven ways to whiten your teeth that you should consider.
About the Practice
Parkway Vista Dental is proud to serve the needs of patients and families in the DFW metroplex! The practice is led by Dr. Bita Kamali, who received her DDS from the Baylor College of Dentistry and has over 20 years of experience in a wide variety of fields. Her practice offers many services including preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry (such as teeth whitening). If you have any questions about the article or would like to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact Dr. Kamali through her website or by phone: (972) 818-1300.