What You Need To Know About Activated Charcoal & Teeth Whitening
Using activated charcoal is one of the more unique ways that you can whiten your teeth at home. However, since this is not a common item that people are familiar with, nor a common teeth whitening method, you may have many questions if you are considering attempting this. Getting answers to your questions will help you determine if you should attempt to whiten your teeth using activated charcoal.
Is Activated Charcoal the Same as Charcoal I Use on My Barbecue?
Activated charcoal is similar to the charcoal you use on your barbecue. However, it is heated to higher temperatures and combined with an activating agent that help it bind and react differently in the body than regular charcoal. Activated charcoal is often given to people and animals in the event they have eaten or drank something poisonous or overdosed on a substance. As such, it is safe to use in your mouth and even if you were to accidentally swallow some. The same is not true of charcoal briquettes that are used on a barbecue. You can purchase activated charcoal at most health food stores.
Is Using Activated Charcoal an Effective Way to Whiten Teeth?
As of now, no activated charcoal whitening treatments have been accepted by the American Dental Association, or ADA. This is not to say that this is not an effective way to whiten your teeth, as many people who try it do report positive results. It simply means that there is not enough evidence at this time to support that charcoal is an effective way to whiten teeth. However, you can try it for yourself and see if you have positive results.
Is Using Activated Charcoal Safe?
The biggest concern with activated charcoal as a whitening agent is that it is abrasive. This means that it can weaken or break down your enamel if you use it for a prolonged period of time. However, there is not enough evidence at this time to show exactly how long it will take to break down or harm the enamel. Some people who have used activated charcoal have also complained that they felt a stinging or burning sensation in their gums. If your gums are sensitive or you have gum disease, you may want to avoid this whitening method.
How Do You Use Activated Charcoal to Whiten Teeth?
If you are interested in whitening your teeth with activated charcoal, follow these directions. If you're still unsure if this is safe for you, contact your dentist before giving this process a try.
- Cover the sink or area you are going to be working with with old newspaper or an old towel. Charcoal can stain certain types of grout and tile.
- Add a small amount of powdered activated charcoal to a disposal cup. Alternatively, you can open one or two activated charcoal capsules to obtain powder. Add a small amount of water to form a paste. You only need enough of the paste to coat your teeth one time.
- Dampen your toothbrush and dip it into your charcoal paste. Lightly rub the paste into your teeth in small, gentle circles for about two minutes. Do not push down or brush hard. Charcoal can be abrasive so you don't want to force it into your teeth. If you are concerned about the abrasiveness of charcoal, you can simply put the paste on your teeth and let it sit for two minutes. However, be aware that it may take longer to whiten your teeth with this approach.
- Rinse your mouth well with cool water.
- Rinse your sink to remove any charcoal powder to prevent staining.
- Repeat this process once a day until your teeth are whitened.
If your teeth are yellow or stained, you may be looking for a way to whiten them. Activated charcoal is one of the at-home methods you can attempt. Getting answers to the questions you have about it will help you decide if it is ideal for you. Unfortunately though, not all stains can be lifted using at-home methods. If you have tried to whiten your teeth and can't get the stains to lift, talk with your dentist. They may have access to treatments in their office that can help lift stubborn or hard to remove stains.