In today’s world, everyone is always looking for “life hacks” — little tricks to make life easier, look better, be healthier, etc. Many products have jumped on this bandwagon, touting special ingredients that will make their product superior in its’ class. Activated charcoal is now advertised as a featured ingredient in many commercially-available products such as face wash, makeup, and now, even in toothpaste as a means to naturally whiten teeth.
But does it actually work like they say it does or is it just a gimmick that can actually put your teeth at risk? Nesconset Dental Associates of Nesconset, NY and the American Dental Association have some advice for those who are curious about the results of using charcoal toothpaste.
Charcoal is a porous black solid form of carbon that is created from burning wood or other organic material. Charcoal is called “activated” when it’s burned again at an even higher temperature, which causes it to be more effective at making things stick to it.
This sticky quality of activated charcoal is why it’s commonly used in medicine to help absorb toxins in the stomach such as in an accidental poisoning. But does activated charcoal actually work to draw out toxins anywhere else?
Should I Use Charcoal Toothpaste?
The American Dental Association has found no evidence that charcoal toothpaste is effective for whitening teeth and, in fact, it may actually harm the teeth and gums.
Activated charcoal has an abrasive texture, which can remove the outer layer of the tooth called the enamel. The enamel is what you want to whiten when you use a whitening toothpaste, but using charcoal-infused toothpastes can actually damage enamel, exposing a more yellow layer of the tooth beneath called dentin. Dentin has a more naturally yellowish color, is more prone to being stained and is more sensitive than enamel so you don’t want to damage it.
Modern toothpaste and toothbrushes are designed to gently clean the surface of the teeth, and you don’t want something abrasive scraping your teeth and removing precious enamel.
Alternatives to Natural Whitening
The best way to naturally whiten teeth is to practice healthy oral habits, such as brushing your teeth twice a day with an American Dental Association-approved whitening toothpaste, limiting intake of staining foods like coffee and red wine, and regularly visiting Nesconset Dental Associates.
Nesconset Dental Associates also offers in-office teeth whitening procedures and take-home kits that safely whiten the enamel without damaging it. There are also bleaching products available in most drug stores and big box stores with the ADA seal of approval that are safe for teeth.
The most important part of your smile is that you keep it healthy. If you’re in the Nesconset area and are not sure about which teeth whitening procedure or product is best for you, call (631) 228-8780 or schedule an appointment online with a Nesconset Dental Associates dentist today.