Challenging Activated Charcoal
With heightened awareness about oral health these days, that comes along with healthy living, natural foods, active lifestyle, and the like, it’s little wonder that consumers are deluged with lots of brands, advertisements, and influencers riding on the bandwagon of dental health. One such trend, which began not too long ago and is buzzing again, is activated charcoal toothpaste for whitening teeth.
No, it’s not the same as the charcoal we commonly use to barbecue meats. Activated charcoal has been safely used in the treatment of drug overdoses, poisoning, bloating and flatulence, lowering cholesterol, and even preventing hangovers. It’s considered as a universal antidote. Any organic material with a high carbon content like coal, wood, peat, coconut shells, sawdust and others can be made into activated carbon. The material is grinded, binded for hardness, recompacted and crushed to desired size. The resultant product is very porous and can trap toxins and chemicals in its millions of tiny pores. Amazingly, one pound of carbon has a surface area equivalent to six football fields.
How does activated charcoal toothpaste whiten teeth?
Activated carbon whitens teeth by adsorption, not absorption. Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions or molecules from a gas, liquid or dissolved solid to a surface. The compound adsorps plaque and microscopic debris that stain teeth, whitening them. It changes the pH balance in the mouth, helping prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease.
It’s a brilliant idea and though it technically works, it’s the long-term effects that experts are worried about. Charcoal toothpaste is good as a pre-treatment before home whitening kits, it shouldn’t be an everyday toothpaste. Due to its abrasiveness, it can wear the enamel, especially at the gum line of the tooth. Enamel is thinnest here and can cause sensitivity and irreversible enamel loss. Use this to make a quick polish of your teeth, but shouldn’t be overused. You might be an aggressive brusher and with everyday use, you can have irreversible enamel loss in a matter of few uses.
Sure, you can use charcoal toothpaste but do so in moderation. Otherwise, it’s like applying sandpaper on your teeth. Rather trust your regular fluoride toothpaste, your floss and mouth rinses for daily care.
Ask our Bellingham Dentist about Charcoal Toothpaste
Learn more about the benefits and risks with use of charcoal toothpaste from your Bellingham dentist. Remember, moderation is key in oral health protection.