Charcoal Toothpaste

Use with Caution to Prevent Damage

There has been a lot of talk about charcoal toothpaste lately. Many people and companies are jumping on the bandwagon, but is it really a good idea? The very idea of a charcoal teeth cleaner will certainly have some people reeling at the very thought of it. If you have been wondering whether or not charcoal teeth whitening is for you, here are some things you need to know.


About the Charcoal

The charcoal that is used in the toothpaste is not the same kind that you would use on your grill. This special charcoal for teeth is an activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is made out of coconut shells, bone char, coal, peat, sawdust, or petroleum coke. It is then exposed to high temperatures and gases which "activate" it.

Activating it makes it more porous than regular charcoal, which means it has a high capacity for absorbing other materials. This process also makes it have a negative electrical charge. This enables it to attract molecules that are positively charged, and gases and toxins have this charge.


Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening

Even though using black charcoal toothpaste for teeth whitening has become a craze, it lacks actual support. There is insufficient data to show that it actually does whiten teeth. This means you could use it and not obtain the results that you hope to get from it.


The Problem with Activated Charcoal Toothpaste


It really does not matter who is saying that activated charcoal toothpaste is a great product. There is a serious side effect that is completely undesirable, and many dentists are in agreement with this problem.

Activated charcoal is granular. Because of the granular structure, it can remove particles and other substances from the surface of your teeth that can discolor them. At the same time, it also acts as an abrasive on your teeth's enamel. This could be a serious problem.


Using the product a couple of times is not apt to hurt your teeth, but doing so repeatedly is going to thin your teeth's enamel. This will actually be counterproductive to teeth whitening because the thinner the enamel gets, the more the color of the underlying dental layer will show through – and it is dark yellow.



Charcoal-Based Products May Permanently Stain Teeth

Charcoal whitening may also have another problem. When using approved teeth whitening products, especially professional products at the dentist's office, some of the chemicals used may pass through the enamel and into the dentin. The chemical may actually help to change its color as well, lightening it for an even better white.

If and when charcoal gets into the dentin layer, it is apt to get stuck there. This is going to cause your teeth to be darker, or possibly splotchy and stained. When this happens, it will certainly ruin the desired effect of tooth whitening, and then the only way to remedy it would be to get veneers or composites to cover the surface of the teeth.



Tooth Enamel Does Not Grow Back

Using products such as a charcoal whitening toothpaste can damage the enamel on your teeth. This is what protects your teeth and the nerves inside. The enamel on your teeth does not grow back. It is not like your fingernails.

As the enamel becomes thinner, your teeth can develop cavities, become sensitive to hot and cold, or even chip or break. Being that the charcoal is a powerful absorbent, it may also help to pull vitamins and minerals out of your enamel, making it weak.

In addition to the possible damage it may do to your tooth's enamel, there is also a bacterium in your mouth that can seriously damage your teeth. This damage occurs when you do not properly take care of your teeth. The bacteria multiplies and produces acid from the sugar and carbs you eat. This is the same bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease. It also erodes the enamel on your teeth and removes vitamins and minerals from the enamel. By using an abrasive substance very often on your teeth, it means the enamel is eroded even faster.



Are the Teeth Really Whiter?

One dentist who is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says that the activated charcoal teeth are not all that they seem. It is not that the teeth are actually that much whiter, but that the gums are being made to look a little rosier, which makes the teeth appear to be whiter.


When you want real teeth whitening using proven methods, you can contact Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board-certified Periodontist. He has offices in the Carrollton, TX and in the Grapevine, TX areas. He can also help you with other dental problems and cosmetic dentistry. For more information, or to set up an appointment, you can call his office today at (817) 756-8578.

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