Charcoal is a natural ingredient known for its multiple uses, both medicinal and practical. Nowadays, there’s a new usethat’s becoming popular,and that’s to whiten teeth. This may sound weird if you’ve never heard of charcoal’s being used for purposes aside from cooking your favorite grilled foods. This is another type of charcoal entirely. For the purpose of whitening your teeth, activated charcoal is used.
Social media users claim that whitening your teeth naturally is possible with the help of this substance. It’s also a safe and only mildly abrasive way of removing surface stains that can turn your teeth yellow without using commercial products.
Why do teeth yellow?
Normally, your teeth turn yellow as part of the aging process. It’s a lot like how your hair turns gray when you get older. The dentin, which is the inner part of the teeth, is what becomes yellow. When your teeth repair themselves, they produce a darker shade of new dentin. The enamel, on the other hand, becomes thinner due to external factors like grinding your teeth and diet.
Teeth also become yellow when you eat or drink certain food and drinks that contain tannins, which can stain the enamel of your teeth. The intake of tea, coffee, wine, orsoda, as well as smoking, can stain your teeth. Although brushing or rinsing your mouth afterward can help prevent staining, constant intake of these foods will still stain your teeth over time.
How does charcoal whiten teeth?
Activated charcoal is a more refined version of charcoal. It differs from the charcoal you grill with since it is reheated and oxidized to “activate” the charcoal and remove volatile compounds a well as separate its atoms. Once the atoms are separated, they can pull in and bind other substances to them.
It is believed that activated charcoal binds everything it comes in contact with. It is highly adsorbent and is widely used in mainstream medicine as a substance to expel unwanted toxins like poison from the body when ingested.
Also, activated charcoal is said to be attracted to tannins, which are commonly found in drinks that can stain teeth like herbal teas, coffee, and wine. So in theory, when used to brush your teeth, charcoal will bind with stains, tartar, and even bacteria in your mouth.
Although there’s still an ongoing debate as to whether charcoal can or cannot whiten teeth, many people who have tried using it claimed that it works for them. Going all-natural and do-it-yourself when it comes to whitening your teeth is not a bad idea.
However,if you have dental restorations like tooth fillings, crowns, or bridges, it’s best to check with your dentist first to ensure that using charcoal will not affect these. Remember, having white teeth does not always equate to having a healthy mouth.
Is it safe?
In general, activated charcoal is safe when ingested. However, because of its natural abrasive quality as a mineral, there is a possibility that it can strip off and damage the enamel of your teeth if not used properly. To be sure, check the product for instructions on how and when to use it. Most activated charcoal teeth whiteners in powder form are very fine so that they can be used daily.
However, there have been concerns regarding potential risks that stem from using activated charcoal daily. Because of its natural ability to absorb or bind with anything upon contact, there is also the possibility that it can interfere with medications as well as vitamins and minerals.
When it comes to daily brushing with activated charcoal, the possibility of interference with the re-mineralization of the teeth when it comes in contact with saliva is something to consider. Although there are products that include bentonite clay, which is said to help in re-mineralizing the teeth, the efficacy is still not fully determined.