June 14, 2018
If you’ve been on the internet for more than two minutes within the past year or so, then you’ve likely seen the charcoal whitening phenomenon. Ironically, people are temporarily turning their teeth black in an effort to make them whiter, and some have even had positive results. This begs the question, “What does an actual dentist think about this?” Today, a Dunwoody dentist talks about whether charcoal whitening is something to be embraced or ignored.
Why is Charcoal Whitening…a Thing?
So what has led innumerous people to spread charcoal onto their teeth?
It’s actually activated charcoal, which is a substance that is well known for its absorbent and detoxifying qualities. Medical personnel will often give a person activated charcoal if they have consumed poison or overdosed as a means to stop the spread of the toxic substance in their body.
Now, some people believe that this quality can be applied to teeth whitening, as in when activated charcoal is placed onto the teeth, it’s able to “suck out” all of the impurities in the enamel, removing stains caused by coffee, tea, wine, etc. Just by brushing with it for a few minutes, you can make your teeth noticeably whiter, and this method is much cheaper than buying a regular whitening kit from the store or visiting your dentist. Have charcoal-enthusiasts figured out the ultimate whitening hack?
What a Dentist Thinks
In truth, the science behind charcoal whitening is still yet to be determined, in that a thorough, peer-reviewed study of its ability to remove stains has yet to be done. So far, the only evidence people really have includes stories on YouTube or reports about stories on YouTube.
So what does your dentist think about whitening your teeth this way?
Basically, the general opinion of dental professionals is to wait. While it’s possible that activated charcoal is indeed able to literally lift stains out of the teeth, it’s also extremely possible that it is so abrasive that brushing with it actually scrapes away the top layer of enamel! While this may make a tooth appear whiter, removing enamel actually weakens a tooth and makes it much more likely to crack or break. Once enamel is gone, it doesn’t grow back, which is why dentists caution everyone when it comes to using charcoal.
A Better Way to Whiten
If you’re interested in dramatically whitening your teeth, the best thing to do is simply talk to a dentist. The treatments they’re able to offer are proven to deliver beautiful results while also not damaging the enamel, and this can be backed up by numerous studies published over the years. If new research eventually shows that charcoal whitening is effective and doesn’t harm the teeth, you can be sure that dentists will get behind it, but for now, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your smile.
About the Author
Dr. Jeff Rodgers is a general, restorative, and cosmetic dentist in Dunwoody, GA. At his practice, he offers his patients a variety of cosmetic services, including teeth whitening. While charcoal whitening may be tempting to try, he stresses that it could do irreversible damage to your teeth, so it’s best to stick with trusted treatments provided by a professional. For questions, or if you’re interested in whitening your teeth safely, he can be contacted through his website.
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