According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), over 90 percent of dental patients usually request tooth whitening. This dental service is a billion dollar industry, and it’s forecasted to hit 7.4 billion by 2024.
However, cosmetic procedures and products have recently earned a bad rap. Some people have claimed to experience gum irritation and tooth sensitivity after a cosmetic procedure. Others also argue that the procedures are pretty costly and are not covered by insurance.
Such claims and other reasons have made people look for alternative ways for tooth whitening. Activated charcoal is one of them, and there are many people propagating its benefits. But, dentists are not buying it.
In this post, we’re going to give you some reasons why you shouldn’t use charcoal to whiten your teeth.
Let’s learn more.
What’s Activated Charcoal?
Also referred to as activated carbon, activated charcoal is a form of processed carbon that features small, low-volume pores to improve the surface area for absorbing toxins. WebMD says that the charcoal is usually used to treat cases of poisoning and drug overdose.
When a patient takes the charcoal, the toxins and drugs bind to it. This, in turn, prevents the body from absorbing the toxins, which could be potentially harmful and life-threatening. You can either get a single or multiple doses to manage the poisoning.
Doctors have reported that the use of activated carbon can be really useful in treating acute poisoning. However, it should not be used in all cases, particularly poisoning from iron tablets, petroleum products, lithium, cyanide, and alcohol.
So, Why Use it for Tooth Whitening?
Due to its absorption properties, activated charcoal somewhat made its way to the beauty industry. It became a common ingredient in cleaners, face masks, and detox regimens. Eventually, it found its way to the mouth of humans, of course, as a tooth cleaner.
According to its crusaders, the charcoal removes tooth stains, bacteria, and toxins just the way it does with poisoning. There are even hundreds of Youtube Videos showing how it works. For example, in this video, YouTube user, Mama Natural, shows how it can be used to clean teeth.
People claim that you only need to use it normally the way you use toothpaste. Just brush your teeth with the charcoal for about three to five minutes and rinse with clean water to get white teeth. Too good to be true, right?
But It’s Black?
Yes. Activated charcoal is black. Some people were actually finding it hard to believe that a black substance can whiten your teeth. Its proponents believe that white is the new black.
They claim that the black color has no effect on the color of your teeth and that you can use it without any potential risks. But dentists don’t agree with them. Medical professionals say that they don’t know about the safety and effectiveness of using charcoal as a tooth whitener.
It might offer the whitening promise but don’t rush to believe it. There are also some toothpaste products that contain charcoal, such as Curaprox. Dentists say such products haven’t been as successful as they claim.
Dentists Are Against it
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there is no evidence that activated charcoal and other products, such as turmeric and baking soda, can actually whiten your teeth. Using natural products doesn’t necessarily mean that they are healthy for certain procedures.
According to dentists, teeth are the only part of the ectoderm layer that doesn’t replenish or grow back. Things, such as the skin, hair, nail, and eyebrows, can grow again over time when cut, shaved or wounded.
The approach involved in the use of charcoal can’t be validated. For example, approved dental products work by penetrating the inner layer of teeth to a part known as dentin. This section is what is responsible for giving your teeth the white color.
With charcoal, the substance only focuses on removing the surface stains, as it’s alleged. In this case, it has no health value to your teeth and enamel. Dental products usually come packaged with other elements, such as fluoride, to help in ensuring proper dental health.
Reasons Not to Use Charcoal
Even with the enticing YouTube videos that people create, you shouldn’t be lured easily into using charcoal to whiten your teeth. Like most natural products or home remedies, activated charcoal has no scientific evidence to back up its use. Here are some reasons you shouldn’t use it:
1. It Doesn’t Guarantee Quality
As noted before, the American Dental Association doesn’t support the use of charcoal. So, it will be a long shot for you should you choose to use it. Activated charcoal has not undergone any medical tests and FDA reviews to confirm its use.
Brands that make activated charcoal, such as Kaopek, Donnagel, EZ-Char, and Diarrest, only make them for the purpose of treating poisoning. So, you’re responsible for any damage the charcoal might cost if you choose to use it for teeth whitening rather than its intended purpose.
2. Contains Abrasive Qualities
While activated charcoal is not as abrasive as certain products, it can still cause harm to your dental health when you use it to whiten your teeth. Daily use of charcoal can lead to gingival recession, also known as receding gums.
When your gums recede, the roots of your teeth become exposed. The gritty nature of charcoal can damage the supporting tissue and bone structure of the teeth. If left untreated, you could end up suffering from tooth loss over time.
3. May not Work for Deep Stains
The ability of charcoal to remove toxic substances in the body can work for surface stains on teeth, too. But that can’t be said for deep stains. People with darker or yellow teeth that have changed over time can only benefit from a bleaching agent.
When you persist in using charcoal when you have deep stains, you could end up harming your enamel.
Talk to Your Dentist
Just like the rest of your body, your dental health is essential. Getting white teeth is a reasonable goal, but not to the extent of harm. So, before using any product to whiten your teeth, be sure to pay a dentist a visit for a consultation.
If necessary, get a dental checkup to understand your situation better. As with most health problems, what works for another person may not work for you. It’s best to first know more about your dental health and the possible cause of your teeth stain.
Your dentist could recommend some products, procedures, or home cleaning kits that can actually work for you.
What Is the FDA’s View?
Activated charcoal is considered a supplement. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates all supplements, it considers them to be food rather than medication.
So, supplements do not undergo strict FDA scrutiny like drugs before they become available to consumers. Manufacturers of supplements don’t need to show their products are effective and safe before they sell them to consumers.
Typically, activated charcoal doesn’t come with any form of guarantee or safety assurance when you use it for teeth cleaning.
What Products Should You Use
There are better products and procedures that you use to whiten your teeth. Most of the products come with quality assurance and have proven results.
1. Professional Teeth Whitening
You can choose in-office teeth whitening as they produce fastest results. However, bear in mind that they can be really costly. The average cost is about $650, and it can go up to $1000 for some cases. You might also need follow-up procedures since the results are usually not permanent.
With professional cleaning, problems, such as tooth sensitivity and receding gums, can be controlled due to the use of desensitizers and thicker peroxide gels. You can get help for stains caused by aging, consumption of certain foods, and use of tobacco.
2. Home Whitening Kit
If you want to save the costs of teeth whitening, then getting a home whitening kit is the ideal way to a get a perfect smile at a reasonable price. Some products even have a 30-day money back guarantee. So, if it fails to work for you, you can return the product and get a full refund within 30 days.
You can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes to whiten your teeth using a whitening kit. A full kit usually comes with a whitening gel, glow activation LED light, universal mouth tray, and a shade guide. You only need to apply the gel to your teeth and use the LED light to accelerate the whitening process.
After the first application, try to use the kit at least once a week to ensure ultimate results. You will need about six applications to get the smile you want.
Whiten Your Teeth Using a Home Kit
Instead of suffering the unpredictable effects of activated charcoal, get a tooth whitening that works for you. This is a simple way to whiten your teeth at a reasonable cost. Some gels are formulated to prevent future stains from things, such as coffee, tobacco, and food coloring.
Also, you don’t need to work about any harmful chemicals or damage to your enamel when using a whitening kit. In fact, it’s the best alternative to activated charcoal, especially if you’re looking for something you can use at home.
Do you have any question on tooth whitening? Feel free to get in touch with us.