Every few months, a new trend to make one’s smile appear whiter and brighter seems to pop up, each purporting to be more natural and do-it-yourself-able than the last. And the latest alternative teeth whitening technique on people’s minds essentially involves covering one’s teeth with a charcoal paste.
It’s not quite the same charcoal you would use for grilling in the summertime. The whitening paste, which is pitch-black in color, contains activated charcoal as its main ingredient — which is charcoal that’s been reheated and oxidized, according to Prevention magazine.
Because activated charcoal is a natural adhesive, it can bind itself to common surface-staining substances found on teeth like coffee, tea and plaque. After dabbing activated charcoal paste over the teeth, you can spit out these staining culprits like you would with your ordinary toothpaste, Prevention reports.
David Richardson, DDS warns, “While this remedy may work, beware! For your long term dental health, you should only use products tested and approved by the ADA. Using unapproved and untested products may damage your teeth’s enamel. Once damaged, nature cannot repair enamel. You’ll have to see your dentist for that. If you would like whiter teeth, use one of the many tested and approved products available from your dental professional. Yes! Brighten your smile, but be careful while you do it!”
Activated charcoal has been proven to be safe for ingestion, and is odorless and tasteless, Prevention reports. However, the American Dentistry Association (ADA) has warned against brushing one’s teeth with activated charcoal, as its texture may be gritty enough to cause permanent damage to teeth enamel.
“Right now, no charcoal teeth whitening products have been evaluated and accepted by the ADA,” Kimberly Harms, DDS, an ADA Consumer Advisor spokesperson, told Prevention. “Our biggest concern is abrasiveness -— you don’t want it to wear away at the enamel.”
What do you think about activated charcoal? Would you use it to lighten your teeth a few shades? Let us know in the comments below.