Does Activated Charcoal Actually Whiten Teeth?

Does Activated Charcoal Actually Whiten Teeth?

Many people do not like what they see in the mirror when they smile. Aging causes teeth to naturally yellow. In addition, many people drink red wine, coffee, and other beverages that stain teeth. You may believe that professional whitening is too expensive, so you want to search for an at-home remedy.

Activated charcoal products are available everywhere online. You may be curious about how these products work and whether they are worth trying.

Activated charcoal may physically remove surface stains. However, its abrasiveness could permanently damage your smile.

The Use of Activated Charcoal for Tooth Whitening

Before trying a home remedy for tooth whitening, dentists urge patients to check whether the method is safe. Activated charcoal can help with other medical issues, but it has not been proven safe and effective for tooth whitening.

This article describes activated charcoal, shares how it works, and why it is not the best choice for at-home tooth whitening.

About Activated Charcoal

Factories make activated charcoal by burning wood, coal, or other materials. The factory then heats the charcoal to a high temperature with an activating agent. This step increases the charcoal’s surface area.

Activated charcoal is helpful against some types of poisoning. It absorbs dangerous materials in the stomach and prevents them from getting into the bloodstream. It may also have antimicrobial properties.

How Activated Charcoal Works on Teeth

Activated charcoal works by scrubbing stains away. It does appear to remove surface stains but does not penetrate any deeper. Unfortunately, activated charcoal may deposit new gray stains on older teeth. It could collect around crowns, veneers, and bridges.

Why Isn’t Activated Charcoal Recommended for Tooth Whitening?

The Journal of the American Dental Association reviewed the research into activated charcoal. Multiple studies have failed to prove that activated charcoal is safe or effective for tooth whitening. Studies have also failed to prove claims that charcoal preparations kill bacteria and detoxify the mouth.

When you use toothpaste with activated charcoal, you will gradually scratch your enamel away. Using plain baking soda may also have the same effect over time. Abrasive charcoal could expose a layer called dentin which is naturally yellow. Once the enamel is gone, dentists cannot get it back.

Removing the enamel could lead to more sensitivity and tooth decay. In addition, commercial charcoal toothpaste does not often contain fluoride. Its absence could also contribute to increased tooth decay.

Alternatives to Activated Charcoal

Other home remedies for tooth whitening are much safer, including whitening toothpaste, mouthwashes, and strips. However, none of these remedies work as well as an in-office dental treatment. 

Making the Right Choices for Your Smile

Though sellers promote activated charcoal’s benefits online, it may damage your teeth. Contact a trusted dentist for an appointment if you want white, healthy teeth without permanent damage.

Contact Us Today

Call Smiles on the Upper Westside at 212-222-5225 to schedule a tooth whitening consultation today. Our excellent dental staff will help you make an informed decision about your smile.