Let’s be honest! No one likes a trip to the dentist. It is scary, and the pain is unimaginable, leave alone the cost of it. People often resort to home remedies and oral hygiene routines to avoid the same. In this digital world, everyone has a platform to put out health practices and habits. Most of the time, these practices don’t have scientific backing and can even carry severe long term adverse effects.
What is the Charcoal Teeth Whitening Trend?
One such recent trend is the substitution of regular toothpaste with activated charcoal powder or toothpaste containing the same. This very trend is catching up at a swift pace in countries like the UK, the US, Japan, India, Thailand, China, etc. Here, the production of charcoal induced toothpaste is at a high. Before getting into further details about the effects of activated charcoal on your teeth, you need to understand how this trend came about.
Activated charcoal has been in use from the time of Egyptians and Ancient Indians who discovered its antiseptic properties to treat intestinal ailments and purify the water. The 1800s brought out its medical usage. Its absorbent nature made it the primary ingredient for removing any toxins from the body. Since then, it has been used in cosmetics, medical facilities, and now toothpaste.
Even if you are not a so-called social media bee, you might have come across people boasting about whiter teeth by using activated charcoal. So, before you impulsively decide on falling for this trend, let’s dissect the reasons why you shouldn’t.
Your Tooth Enamel Protects You
Activated charcoal is abrasive. Yes, it’s been proven that it cleans off old stains of wine, coffee, etc. But, you also need to understand the underlying effects of its long term use. Your tooth enamel is a protective coating that is stronger than your bones itself. This protects your teeth from decaying. Regular use of charcoal can corrode this and leave your teeth unprotected, leading to more severe issues like plaque and decay.
One Way Ticket to More Yellow Teeth
As mentioned above, once the activated charcoal works, it charms and cleans the extrinsic (surface) stains off your teeth, it does leave them whiter. But, with regular use, it eventually spoils your tooth enamel, exposing the dentin; a calcified yellow tissue that lies under the enamel. Moreover, charcoal doesn’t work on cleaning intrinsic (internal) stains.
Your Teeth Need the Fluoride
Often people substitute the regular toothpaste with a charcoal one. It leaves teeth deprived of a vital mineral called Fluoride. This mineral helps in breaking off the enamel and forming a new layer of the same which is more resistant to acid—thus avoiding tooth decay. It also helps in the remineralization process.
Due to activated charcoal’s adsorbent nature, charcoal-based toothpaste often doesn’t contain Fluoride. This eventually leads to the cavity and permanent tooth decay and several trips to the dentist.
Reverses Its Short-term Benefits
Made of coconut shells, olive pits, slowly burned wood, and peat, activated charcoal can actually lead to staining of the teeth. It can fill up the crevices of older teeth and can also leave dental restorations like veneers, crowns, fillings, and bridges with a black outline.
Although activated charcoal has been the first choice of your ancestors, it doesn’t have to be ours. Moreover, there’s no scientific backing to the teeth whitening property of activated charcoal. Until then, try to stick to your regular oral hygiene routine of brush, floss, and rinse. When it comes to teeth whitening, refer to your trusted dentist, and stay clear of social media trends for healthier and stronger teeth.