With a slew of oral hygiene gimmicks in the market, it can be easy to get caught up. Particularly if you’re looking for a quick way to boost your oral health. Whether it’s those bad breath strips or sophisticated floss alternatives, each gimmick promises faster and longer-lasting results beyond your typical brush and floss. And of these, there’s one trend that stands above the rest: activated charcoal teeth whitening.
But why is there a preference for activated charcoal teeth whitening among other whitening products? We can’t really say for sure, but it might have something to do with a viable choice for natural products. And with health scares over potentially harmful substances and concern over rising prices, it’s no surprise.
Activated charcoal is a preferred ingredient because of activated charcoal powder’s use in poison treatment. When ingested, activated charcoal powder binds to the toxins, absorbing them before they could do any severe damage.
Those who swear by activated charcoal whitening then argue that it works the same way. When you place the activated charcoal powder on your teeth, it supposedly removes stains by absorbing the particles that stain teeth. Aside from the unsightly activated charcoal teeth, however, this type of whitening might do more harm than good.
Why shouldn’t you use activated charcoal teeth whitening, then?
It doesn’t work the way you think it does
On the surface, assuming that activated charcoal teeth whitening works the same way as absorbing poison does seem like a plausible explanation. After all, that is the nature of the activated charcoal powder. What other people don’t mention, however, is that it can only absorb a select number of substances. Mayo Clinic, for instance, notes the few materials activated charcoal can’t digest, such as:
- Strong acids and bases
- Petroleum products
As such, activated charcoal powder can’t absorb the tiny particles that stain teeth. We also previously noted that to give your teeth that pearly white status, whitening products must get through the pores in the enamel to break down those particles that stain teeth. Activated charcoal powder, however, doesn’t have this ability.
If that’s the case, how does it work?
Activated charcoal teeth whitening can ruin your tooth enamel
Activated charcoal teeth whitening, as it turns out, remove stains the same way most natural whitening products do: abrasion. That’s right—activated charcoal powder doesn’t remove stains through absorption.
Sure, the activated charcoal powder can feel pretty fine to the touch. But they still have abrasive properties, which are enough to scour off any surface stains and strip down layers of tooth enamel.
It’s for the latter reason why dentists and other dental professionals tend to sway people off activated charcoal whitening. Aside from getting a bad case of activated charcoal teeth, every time you brush with a spoonful of activated charcoal powder, you’re slowly wearing down your tooth enamel. And instead of having it remove stains, you’re actually one step towards compromising your oral hygiene and oral health.
That said, if the activated charcoal powder isn’t the way to go, what is? Usually, getting your teeth whitened professionally is the best way to go. And the next time you hear about the latest oral hygiene craze, it’s always best to consult your doctor.