If you’re a fan of YouTube—and let’s face it who isn’t, you’ve probably seen your fair share of how-to videos and product reviews of activated charcoal. On that little sidebar to the right that shows trending videos, you’ve probably seen some strange images of people with a mouth full of what looks like black ink in their mouth.
If you are wondering what the heck is going on, you’re not alone. No this isn’t the next absurd “internet challenge.” No, these videos actually are directly related to what we do here at Vela dental centers. No, we don’t mean we sit around with black goo in our mouths, we are talking the latest teeth whitening product craze.
Activated Charcoal. Yeah, you read that right—CHARCOAL.
Activated Charcoal For Teeth Whitening? Just Say NO!
Ok, so maybe this does sound like the next internet challenge, thankfully it’s not, but the level of ridiculous is not that far off from chomping on a Tide Pod. Yes, people are flocking to the store to buy toothpaste made from pure, ground activated charcoal. Technically it’s not a paste it’s actually a powder but there is some toothpaste that mixes charcoal and claims to whiten teeth.
Listen to this logic parroted by dozens of manufacturers of these choc full o’ charcoal products. The supposed miracle whitener is made from activated charcoal and is in powder form. You get your toothbrush damp, dip it into the charcoal powder and brush away…the enamel away that is.
Activated Charcoal Is Unsafe?
Activated charcoal as a whole is a harmless substance. It’s good for water filters, absorbing ingested poisons, and many other great uses. But in this case, for teeth whitening—it is highly unsafe and even damaging to your teeth.
Many people have been deceived by videos touting activated charcoal as the holy grail of teeth whitening—on par with professional whitening from a dentist—that’s a flat out lie, a dangerous one at that.
These self-proclaimed teeth whitening experts and other lifestyle bloggers are furthering this viral trend by creating videos showing them using the product with supposed “decent” results. The fact of the matter is they may have done nothing more than strip layers of enamel right off their teeth.
What Is Activated Charcoal?
Many of our patients who ask us about charcoal products after seeing the videos don’t really know what it is. No, it’s not the same thing as what you BBQ with, so don’t run out and buy a bag of Kingsford and start making toothpaste out of it. In all seriousness—activated charcoal is carbon material that has been treated with oxygen to create millions of tiny molecules that adsorb toxins and other chemicals.
Why Is It Bad For Teeth?
Activated charcoal is a very abrasive substance, similar to fine ground sand. Would you rub sandpaper on your teeth as a method of teeth whitening? No? Then why would you think activated charcoal is harmless?
The reason why it has gone viral is that it does actually whiten your teeth a very tiny bit—but at a heavy cost. It does remove some surface stains because it polishes the enamel surface of your teeth. The problem lies in the fact that it also wears down the enamel eventually weakening the teeth. As you know from previous blogs, enamel doesn’t just “grow” back, when it’s gone—it’s gone.
The ironic twist you never see in those videos or product websites is that eventually, using the charcoal will turn your teeth yellow. The way this happens is that it strips the enamel over time, down to the dentin layer which is yellowish in color. This also increases tooth sensitivity and makes you highly susceptible to tooth decay.
There Is No Reversing The Damage
Once the dentin layer is exposed, your teeth will remain yellow as there is no treatment for that, and there is no protection for your teeth. Your only option for any kind of relief would be porcelain veneers—considerably more expensive than teeth whitening at the dentist.
So, in the end, you save money by using the charcoal, you do get a tiny bit of whitening of your teeth—but then you end up having to spend thousands for veneers or end up with tooth decay. Doesn’t sound like so much of a miracle cure now, does it?
Don’t be one of those people who fall for the “miracle cure,” activated charcoal whiteners claim to be. It’s better to spend a realistic amount and get ADA approved teeth whitening procedures at a reputable dental practice in Corpus Christi.
Safe Methods To Whiten Teeth
Proactive dental care is the best way to whiten your teeth. An ADA accredited dentist will evaluate your teeth, give you a routine cleaning at every scheduled visit and advise you on how to have a brighter smile.
Watch What You Eat And Drink
One of the things we advise all patients to do when trying to maintain a whiter smile is to watch what they eat or drink. Dark-colored beverages such as coffee and tea or acid drinks like sugar-filled soda all stain the teeth or leave a film that yellows.
Tobacco products also are notorious for staining teeth whether it’s cigarettes or chewing tobacco. Abstaining from using tobacco products will also lower your risk for serious cancers and other tobacco-related health issues.
Proper Dental Hygiene Is Key
Even if you watch what you eat, don’t use tobacco products and always eat healthy—if you don’t have good dental hygiene, it’s all pointless. Proper dental hygiene is very important to maintaining not only tooth health but overall health as well.
Make sure to brush between meals and snacks—it’s feasible if you try. Walgreen’s and CVS each sell small disposable toothbrushes that have toothpaste already on them when you need to brush away from home. When at home consider an electric toothbrush such as the Sonicare DiamondClean. These types of toothbrushes do a superior job of removing plaque and tartar from tooth surfaces.
Sometimes You Need A Dentist For Teeth Whitening
When you’ve tried everything, brushed and flossed regularly, used quality mouthwash and toothpaste and you still have an annoying yellow stain—it might be something more than hygiene.
Genetics and our daily routines can impact the color of our teeth no matter how strict we are with the rules. When your dental hygiene regimen isn’t cutting it, Vela Dental Centers is here to help you. We’ll provide you with safe and effective teeth whitening procedures in-house, that will make you proud to smile again and won’t ruin your teeth.
What About Home Whitening Kits?
While there is nothing harmful with using home teeth whitening kits that are proven to be safe and that won’t damage your teeth—nothing is more effective than a visit to a Corpus Christi dentist.
Teeth Whitening From Vela Dental Center Will Brighten Your Smile!
At Vela Dental centers we use several highly effective whitening methods that are only available under the care of a skilled dental technician. Our methods won’t ruin your teeth, aren’t experimental fads, and aside from extenuating circumstances; will yield much better results than any home teeth whitening kit.
When you are under our care, we take every precaution to protect your teeth and gums while effectively brightening your teeth significantly. You don’t have to do anything, no mixing of powders, no setting a timer, and no annoying tray you need to align in your teeth. You lie back and let us handle all the work.
All you need to do is contact us and schedule your consultation so we can get an idea of your overall dental health, the condition of the stains you are seeking to remove and provide you with realistic expectations of our teeth whitening services.