A Root Canal

Should You Use Activated Charcoal To Whiten Your Teeth?

In the quest for a white smile, some people have turned to activated charcoal. There has been some debate about whether or not it is effective. If you are considering charcoal to brighten your teeth, here is what you need to know.  

How Does Activated Charcoal Work?

Activated charcoal has detoxifying properties. The substance has a high level of absorbency that is supposed to trap toxins when it is applied to the surface of something, such as your teeth. As it pulls the toxins, the charcoal also helps to remove stains, which means a whiter smile for you.  

Whether or not activated charcoal works for everyone who uses it is debatable. The charcoal is useful in helping to remove toxins and has been used by medical professionals to treat poisoning for years. However, there are some health risks that are associated with the charcoal that might not make it safe for your use.  

What Are the Drawbacks?

Activated charcoal is useful for some people, but for others, it can lead to additional dental problems. The charcoal is gritty and abrasive, which could mean your enamel becomes damaged while using it. Once the enamel is damaged, you are more likely to have a cavity, gum infection, or other dental problems. 

Every day use of the charcoal instead of toothpaste also deprives your teeth of the fluoride protection that they need. Fluoride is a natural cavity fighter that helps in the fight against plaque. Without it, not only does your risk of cavities increase, but your teeth are in a weakened state.  

What Is a Safe Way to Whiten?

Talk to your local dentist if you are considering the use of activated charcoal. He or she can help you further evaluate the safeness of using it. You can also explore other ways to safely whiten your teeth.  

For instance, simply watching what you eat and drink can help you avoid stains and discoloration. Foods and beverages, such as beets and red wine, can stain your teeth on a long-term basis.  

The dentist can also safely whiten your teeth in his or her office. A professional whitening is safer than an at-home kit because the dentist can carefully monitor your teeth's exposure to the peroxide solution. If you leave the peroxide solution in the at-home kit on your teeth too long, the enamel could be damaged and your teeth would be vulnerable to staining.