Does Activated Charcoal Actually Work? | James Heller DMD | A premiere cosmetic dental practice in Easton Massachusetts

James Heller DMD

Does Activated Charcoal Actually Work?

Activated Charcoal and Oral Health

Activated Charcoal and Oral HealthDoes Activated Charcoal Actually Work?

It may seem counter-intuitive, but there are literally over 40,000 YouTube videos dedicated to the benefits of using black, goopy activated charcoal, or charcoal that’s been heated with gas, to whiten your teeth.  But does it actually work?

Yes and no. 

You might see some results, but experts agree that the long-term damage to your teeth by far outweighs the benefits. Activated charcoal can be abrasive. And while you’re busy trying to brush away your red wine stains with a mouth full of black gunk, you could also be brushing away the smooth enamel. The rougher the surface, the easier it is for bacteria to stick to it. And bacteria is what can cause cavities and gum disease.

Plus, if you’ve swapped out your Crest for a trendy (and spendy) new tube of BlackMagic, you might be depriving your mouth of fluoride, a valuable cavity-fighting mineral. Dr. Heller recommends that you brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste in order to strengthen your teeth and fight off the acids that can weaken enamel. 

In addition to the damage activated charcoal can do for your teeth, it might not even work that well as a whitener. Whitening treatments are designed to penetrate the teeth, bleaching not only the top of the teeth, but the layers of enamel below it. But activated charcoal only whitens the surface. The celebrities you see on Instagram sporting a mouth full of the black stuff have probably already had their teeth professionally whitened. So what you’re looking at is actually the results of a professional teeth bleaching treatment, not activated charcoal alone.

The truth is, there simply isn’t enough known about whether or not activated charcoal really does what it says it does. So before you turn to a tube of black goop to whiten your teeth, talk to your dentist about proven safe and effective ways to get whiter teeth.

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