The dangers of charcoal teeth whitening

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Charcoal toothpaste hit the scene as the newest teeth whitening craze. For most people, when you hear ‘charcoal’,  the last thing that comes to mind is teeth whitening…but charcoal toothpaste is the newest trend that promises whiter teeth quicker and for cheaper. This fad is gaining popularity all over the internet because it is significantly less expensive than most bleaching kits that can be hundreds of dollars. Therefore, many people are drawn to charcoal toothpaste for their teeth whitening needs due to the fact it is wildly cheaper than the majority of traditional whitening methods out there. But the real question is: is it safe? Let’s break down this new trend, and see if it is really worth trying out.

First, what is charcoal exactly? Well, it is mostly made of carbon, and has been burned at a high intensity in a low oxygenated environment, until it turns into black clumps or powder. Previously, it was recognized by medical professionals as treatment for drug overdoses or toxic poisoning. This is because activated charcoal has a negative charge, while toxins and bacteria have a positive charge, allowing charcoal to latch and absorb these things and sweep them away. With teeth whitening charcoal, it is touted as being effective in binding with the roughness of the enamel on our teeth, absorbing any stains or dirt.

So does it work? Experts are divided. You can search on Instagram for charcoal whitening before and after photos, and you’ll find thousands of examples of what seems like highly successful cases. What people don’t understand is that the highly abrasive charcoal is actually causing accelerated dental erosion, which can lead to even worse retention of stain on your pearly whites. The charcoal, while scraping off the stains on your teeth, is also exposing the precious enamel, which cannot be regenerated after it is gone. With your enamel being scraped off by the charcoal, this can lead to greater sensitivity to cold or hot substances, and increase the risk of decay. Other dental professionals say it is difficult for charcoal to effectively remove stains after being on your teeth for such a short amount of time. 

Other risks you take when brushing with charcoal is the uncomfortable side effects of ingesting it orally. These include gastrointestinal damage, nausea, vomiting, and can even counteract medication absorption. It can also be extremely dangerous for diabetic patients, due to the charcoal potential counteracting their life-saving medication.

All in all, charcoal toothpaste might not be the healthiest way to whiten your smile. Because of this, most charcoal toothpastes have not been approved by the FDA. There are some natural alternatives that are much safer, and just as cheap, as charcoal whitening. Try mixing 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. This combo can remove stains from your teeth, and is completely safe to do.


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