Brushing Teeth With Charcoal – Fact or Fad?Ramon Bana, DDS
Activated charcoal is starting to show up in the most mundane of personal care products—face masks, supplements, toothpaste and teeth whitening products. The odd-looking pictures on social media of people brushing their teeth with it certainly adds to its striking appeal and allure. But it is wise to be skeptical of fads that seem to spring up overnight, and charcoal toothpaste should be no exception. Is it possible to brush or whiten teeth with charcoal toothpaste, or it just that, a fad?
While activated charcoal toothpaste may be new, the use of activated charcoal is not. It is used in hospital settings for poisons and overdoses, due to its unique binding abilities.
Charcoal is a negatively charged substance consisting of millions of minuscule pores. These pores will bind to anything with a positive charge, like poisons, and trap them. This prevents the poison from being absorbed by the body.
Regarding its alleged tooth-cleaning capabilities, charcoal’s talents in that department are only surface deep. It can only bind to superficial surface stains and remove them.
Charcoal toothpaste may be beneficial for those heavy coffee, tea, and wine drinkers.
As far as whitening the tooth at a much deeper, intrinsic level, that is best left to professional whitening products, which safely penetrate below the tooth’s surface to the dentin, which may appear yellow or dark.
There are some caveats to consider when using charcoal toothpaste.
It is abrasive
The pores that make up charcoal’s consistency can scratch the tooth and wear away the enamel. Weakened enamel can lead to decay, cavities, and gum inflammation. Worn-down enamel can also make the tooth appear darker and discolored. So, if not used properly, charcoal toothpaste can cause the very thing it is marketed to correct.
To get the maximum benefit of charcoal toothpaste and to do it safely, the key is to gently and sparingly use it.
Teeth should be gently brushed until all surfaces of the teeth are covered in the telltale black paste. Then wait about three minutes before rinsing. Waiting will allow the charcoal to bind to any surface stains.
Don’t Brush Too Harshly!
Never harshly scrub the teeth with the charcoal toothpaste, and only use it about once every other week.
Also, be careful when choosing a charcoal toothpaste. Some brands are more abrasive than others, and the less abrasive the paste, the better. Stains cannot be scrubbed out anyway, since the charcoal acts through a binding process.
Again, charcoal toothpaste does not whiten the tooth, it only removes surface stains. Surface stains are the discoloration that occurs on the outer, enamel surface of the tooth. Proper and safe teeth whitening can only happen on a deeper level.
The part of the tooth below the enamel is what gives the tooth its coloration. This is the dentin layer and its color will shine through the enamel like a prism. Many things can cause dentin discoloration, such as genetics and certain medications and health conditions. Fortunately, a dentist can safely correct any deeper stains within the tooth.
Dr. Ramon Bana of Miami and Coral Gables, South Florida, offers affordable and quality teeth whitening procedures. Dr. Bana’s dedicated team of trained professionals offers only the best in dental care and hygiene. Call today to schedule an appointment for a customized dental plan to uncover and treat any oral problems and to correct stains and discoloration.