When you hear the word charcoal, what usually comes to mind? Barbecues! The time of year for that is vastly approaching as well, but that particular charcoal isn’t what I’m referring to. Activated charcoal is a purifying agent that is able to remove impurities from things. Traditionally used in air filters in locations such as hospitals, over the past few years its use has expanded to the health and beauty industry.
The trend of using activated charcoal on teeth to create brighter and whiter smiles has gained in popularity, but is it effective? Some dentists aren’t convinced. ““There’s no evidence at all that activated charcoal does any good for your teeth,” says Dr. Harms. She worries about the potential damage the grainy substance can do to your teeth and gums. “Like any abrasive, we’re worried about the effects on the gums and enamel on the teeth. We don’t know about the safety and effectiveness of it,” she says. Dr. Harms also notes that activated charcoal shouldn’t replace everyday teeth cleaning and regular visits to the dentist. “The important part of brushing and flossing is the physical removal of plaque. The toothpaste you’re using, from a dentist’s point of view, delivers fluoride to teeth,” she says. “We’re concerned about practices where people are using products without fluoride. Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter and can cut tooth decay by up to 40 percent.” “There’s no scientific indication that [activated charcoal] actually works and there are better options out there that do work.””
Of course this is only the medical opinion of one person and the best way to know anything for sure is to do extensive research and testing. Consult with your Ottawa dentist for the best techniques to make your teeth brighter and healthier.