Does Activated Charcoal Whiten Teeth?
Hearing about using charcoal to whiten teeth is not something that has been recently discovered. Charcoal has a whole history attached to it for teeth whitening dating back to the Roman Empire. People have been using it for a very long time, however, it has gained such popularity very recently and it owes it to the social media platforms.
Many new products have been introduced, some in powdered form while others in the form of toothpaste, that claim to whiten the teeth, however, it must be noted that if not used carefully such products can harm your teeth and gums and leave you in a worse condition than you were in before. Over usage of charcoal, products can be one of the causes of such conditions. In this dental article, we dig in the details of activated charcoal and how it works in whitening the teeth.
What is activated charcoal?
If you are thinking of activated charcoal as the carbon you use for grilling the meat, drop that idea right now. It is not the carbon you use in barbecue; it is rather an activated form of carbon specifically treated to increase its absorbing properties. It is processed to have smaller pores that increase the surface area for better absorption. Apart from teeth whitening, it is also used a beauty product for skin care, particularly for removing the dirt and blackheads on the face and having a brighter skin.
How does it work?
Due to its increased absorbing properties, the activated charcoal sticks to the rough parts of teeth that are mostly the areas containing plaque and other stains. After a right amount of time, when the charcoal is removed from teeth, all the plaque, food particles and stains come along with it leaving your teeth cleaner and whiter.
However, teeth that are naturally yellow or are deeply stained will not benefit from activated charcoal; they need other professional dental treatment such as bleaching.
Is it safe to use?
We must say in this dental blog that excess of anything is bad. Charcoal is itself a safe product to use, probably that’s why it is used against food poisoning in hospitals, however beware that excessive use of it on your teeth can give you sore gums. Never use charcoal on open wounds in your mouth, like if your gums are bleeding, using charcoal on them will not be a very good idea.
Be gentle while using this on your teeth, do not over scrub it and do not put too much pressure while brushing with charcoal.
Consult your dentist before you start using charcoal because it produces different results for different situations of teeth. So, if you are not getting your desired result then there must be something wrong and you need to consult your dentist.
If used the right way and for the right amount of time, charcoal can give you the smile you desire.
How to use it?
The first step would be choosing between charcoal powder and the charcoal toothpaste. Once you are done with the decision the next steps are easy.
It would be better if you use a toothbrush specifically dedicated to the charcoal brushing. You are most likely to get a toothbrush with the charcoal product you are purchasing so give it a try.
The charcoal powder is itself a ready product and you do not need to mix it with anything like water etc. to start using it. However, you might find some products that are available in the form of tablets and are required to be mixed with water before using. Such products need extra care while using. You need to only dab the mixture that you just formed on your teeth, no need for brushing hard otherwise you will be damaging your enamels. Leave the mixture on your teeth for about 2 minutes and then rinse your mouth thoroughly.
Conversely if you are using a ready product like toothpaste, the procedure is the normal, just the way you brush your teeth. Just apply the toothpaste or the charcoal powder on your toothbrush and brush for two minutes. Wait for 10-15 seconds and then rinse your mouth. If the taste of the product is not good you can use any mouthwash to get rid of that.
Some important notes
There are some things that need to be noted in this dental blog. Activated charcoal is basically used for teeth whitening; however some people naturally have ivory colored teeth that give a bit yellowish look. So, charcoal might not be the best solution for whitening such teeth. Other dental procedures such bleaching might solve the issue for such people.
Do not use charcoal products on regular basis, over usage of such products can damage your teeth and enamels.
Be patient while using activated charcoal products, if you are expecting overnight results then it might not happen for you. It takes time.