The desire to achieve a whiter, brighter smile has been long been plagued by DIY methods to accomplish this goal, some of which are more detrimental than good. It's important to research trends as they pique your interest and talk to a professional if necessary. One such recent, popular teeth whitening trend involves using activated charcoal.
Consumers purchase activated charcoal caps from their local market and combine them into a paste before brushing with the mixture. After leaving it on for 3-5 minutes, they then wash it off to reveal the results. Unfortunately, the American Dental Association (ADA) will not approve this whitening process and has even put out a warning against it.
Many individuals believe that activated charcoal actually brightening smiles has to do with the fact that it can absorb toxins and bacteria that lead to stains on the tooth's surface. What they fail to realize, is that anything that is put on the surface of the tooth actually seeps into the inner layer called dentin. Not only can the abrasive nature of activated charcoal scratch and erode the surface of the tooth, but it can promote increased decay when it reaches the dentin layer. DIYers who opt for charcoal whitening not only have to worry about enamel erosion, but their whole tooth decaying as well after prolonged use. Once enamel deteriorates, it is impossible to get it back naturally unless a professional dentist intervenes with approved restoration methods. This means that activated charcoal could potentially cause irreversible damage to your smile, so it is best to let this trend fade.
Dentists also have been very vocal about the fact that they are unsure using activated charcoal for teeth whitening even works when it comes to stain removal. Many believe that both DIY charcoal mixtures and mainstream charcoal-based toothpaste brands don't lift stains at all. Applying charcoal to your teeth can actually cause even more stains to accumulate when the gumline is exposed to the solution. Some individuals experience dark discoloration where the activated charcoal was applied.
Using a charcoal mixture or toothpaste in place of traditional toothpaste can also lead to tooth decay due to the absence of fluoride. Most charcoal-based toothpaste brands do not include fluoride in their ingredients list, which is one of the main components in preventing cavities and overall decay. It is best to stick to a toothpaste that is approved by the ADA to ensure that you prevent potential decay as much as possible.
The search for a brighter smile may seem out of reach, but there are many solutions available that dentists willingly approve. Instead of risking causing additional harm to your smile, ask your dentist about ADA approved options. Whitening your smile may be a top priority, but preventing any further damage should be just as important. With so many approved and effective methods available, you are sure to find a better option for your pearly whites.