Usage of activated charcoal for teeth whitening has become a viral trend on social media. Activated charcoal for teeth whitening has created a buzz. But before you start brushing your teeth with it, you should be aware of its pros and cons.
Trends come and go, but it is difficult to differentiate which of them are worthwhile for your well being.
In this blog post, we will be answering some frequently asked questions on this topic.
WHAT IS ACTIVATED CHARCOAL?
It is different from charcoal used in barbeques. When high-pressure gas is forced in charcoal granules, activated charcoal is created. It has a porous structure.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Due to its porosity, activated charcoal can absorb pigments and toxins. It is used in medicine to treat cases of poisoning or accidental overdose etc.
Few people regularly ingest activated charcoal due to its detoxifying abilities, but it can also absorb necessary vitamins and nutrients.
IS IT SAFE TO BRUSH WITH?
Not really, as the potential risks outweigh the benefits. Though activated charcoal has absorptive abilities the problem lies with abrasiveness. Toothpaste also contains abrasives. The paste must be abrasive enough to remove tartar and stains but should not damage tooth enamel. Commonly used abrasive in toothpaste are hydrated silica, titanium dioxide, calcium carbonate etc. Size of these particles ranges from 4-12 micron (a human hair is of 75 microns. 1micron is a millionth of a meter.).
Any abrasive beyond this size can harm your teeth. As the particle size of activated charcoal is not standardized, it can be potentially harmful.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?
With the loss of enamel, tooth sensitivity develops. Along with erosion of enamel, you could also stain your teeth and gums. Dark pigment of the charcoal can gradually seep through enamel into the inner layer of the tooth (dentin) and influence tooth color. It can also build up under the gums. Instead of whitening, you can land up with tattooed gums.
To avoid these risks, we recommend patients interested in teeth whitening to opt for professional teeth whitening from certified doctors.
Dr.Manthan Desai MDS
Smiles Dental Clinic-Centre For Advanced Dentistry, Mumbai.