Is Activated Charcoal Safe For Whitening Teeth?

So you probably ended up here after watching many YouTube videos of people brushing their teeth with this mysterious black goo called activated charcoal in their mouth. No, you aren’t witnessing the next iteration of the Tide Pod challenge—but the absurdity is not that far off.

These people are sadly following the advice of some very irresponsible “DIY dental experts,” and other YouTubers who have followed their advice as well. What they are doing is attempting to demonstrate the purported effectiveness of activated charcoal to whiten teeth.

The technique is super simple, the activated charcoal relatively inexpensive and it’s something that does not require a trip to the dentist. Ah, but yes there is indeed a catch. Even though it does make your teeth a tiny bit whiter, there is a serious downside—activated charcoal is downright harmful to your teeth.

Why Is Activated Charcoal Unsafe?

Activated charcoal on its own is a relatively harmless substance. It is good for filtering contaminantsout of the water, adsorption of toxins in the body and many other uses. It is however completely unsafe in the realm of dental care. Many people have been duped by videos online showing it to be a whitening solution that is as effective as any Houston dentist would be able todeliver—that is dangerous and very misleading.

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Many of you might be wondering what activated charcoal actually is. No, it’s not like opening a bag of BBQ briquettes and crushing them into a powder. All joking aside, activated charcoal is a carbon that is processed with oxygen to create millions of microscopic pores that can be used for adsorption (a chemical reaction that causes elements to adhere to the charcoal surface) of many different chemicals and toxins.

Why Is It Bad For Teeth?

Activated charcoal by nature is quite abrasive, akin to fine sand. Would you ever consider brushing your teeth with sand in an attempt to make them whiter? We didn’t think so. Yet so many people are buying into this trend and ruining their teeth, rather than improving them.

The reason why it has taken off and become a “viral” trend is that inessence, it does indeed whiten your teeth a tiny bit—at first. The way it “whitens” is the abrasive charcoal polishes the enamel on your tooth surface—removing some surface stains in the process. However, continued use actually wears down the enamel as you may be polishing your teeth, but with an abrasive polish. Basically, slowly but surely you are removing the enamel from your teeth which weakens them severely and can lead to conditions such as:

  • Exposing the dentin layer
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Permanent enamel damage

Here is the ironic side to using activated charcoal to whiten teeth instead of just visiting a Houston dentist—it will eventually turn your teeth yellow. Yes, you read that right. When enamel gets damaged so bad that it exposes the dentin layer, your teeth will appear yellow. Not just any yellow but a yellow stain that is not treatable with topical whitening solutions. Once your dentin is exposed, your only corrective remedy that will work is veneers, or implants—both of which are significantly more expensive than whitening sessions at a Houston dentist. To sum it up, activated charcoal for whitening teethis a temporary, pseudo-solution at best that will end up ruining your teeth.

Not only that, but when you damage the enamel you open yourself up for increased risk of tooth decay and infections which can lead to root canal surgeries, fillings and finally the removal of the bad teeth. So that quick, “inexpensive” whitening method you thought might be less expensive than a local Houston dentist, actually ends up costing you thousands more. That is a truth that some people will sadly find out the hard way—don’t be one of those people. Whiten your teeth with proven, safe methods approved by the American Dental Association.

Safe Methods To Whiten Teeth

The best way to whiten teeth is to be proactive with your dental care. Try to limit your consumption of dark or staining beverages such as tea, coffee and acidic ones like soda and sugary drinks. Abstaining from tobacco products will increase your white levels significantly as well as add years to your life.

Proper maintenance is important as well. Make sure you brush after each meal or snack. Many pharmacies have small disposable brushes infused with toothpaste for when you’re on the go. When you are home, make sure to use a quality toothbrush paired with high-qualitytoothpaste as well. Increasing your frequency of water intake will help rinse staining substances off your teeth but also keep your body hydrated which helps even more.

Doing All The Right Things But Still, Have Yellow Teeth?

Sometimes genetics and just our daily routines can make our teeth an unsightly yellow shade no matter how many rules we adhere to. When your dental care routine doesn’t quite cut it, you can come into Comprehensive Dental Group and receive safe and effective teeth whitening procedures that will last and not ruin your teeth.

There’s nothing wrong with using safe, proven methods of home teeth whitening kits that won’t ruin your teeth, but the most effective way to correct stained teeth is to explore your options with your preferred Houston Dentist.

Contact Comprehensive Dental Group today and get your free consultation on teeth whitening solutions such as whitening sessions and porcelain veneers. Bring your smile in here and we’ll take good care of it.


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