Does teeth whitening charcoal work?

It’s all over social media, and many celebrities have even accepted brand deals to promote various manufacturers of the new, controversial trend: active charcoal teeth whiteners.

But that isn’t all that activated charcoal is used for. Apparently, there are also active charcoal skin masks, hair products and even pills to remove toxins and promote gut health.

But is active charcoal the miracle product it is made out to be?


What is active charcoal?

According to Wikipedia, activated carbon, also called activated charcoal, is a form of carbon processed to have small, low-volume pores that increase the surface area available for adsorption or chemical reactions.

It’s normally used to remove chemicals, toxins and gases. Due to its added benefits, activated charcoal has replaced charcoal in water purification systems and fish tank filtering systems, DIY explains.

Most commonly, activated carbon is used to treat poisonings and overdoses following oral ingestion. Tablets or capsules of activated carbon are used in many countries as an over-the-counter drug to treat diarrhoea, indigestion and flatulence.


How does it act as a teeth whitener?

Activated charcoal’s natural adhesive qualities allow it to bind with surface-staining culprits such as coffee, tea, wine and plaque, thereby removing the stains from your teeth.

The odourless, tasteless powder has thus far been deemed safe, but certain charcoals may be too strong for teeth and will in fact stain them yellow.

Trust Dental says that strong substances can wear away enamel and expose dentin, the softer, yellowish layer of a tooth.

What’s Good blogger Christina Heiser brushed her teeth with activated charcoal for two weeks, as an experiment to see what would happen to her teeth and gums.

“My teeth were noticeably whiter at the end of this two-week experiment than they were at the beginning—or even at the midpoint. While my chompers didn’t have the look of peroxide-treated teeth, I was happy to test out a fairly easy DIY method that didn’t have a gross aftertaste,” she said.

“Sure, I made a mess—in my bathroom and in my mouth—but it was worth it. Would I do it again? Absolutely.”

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