Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening: Is it Safe?

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Activated charcoal teeth whitening is the new kid on the block for smile brightening, but what actually is it?

Activated charcoal is a material that is currently being used in several modern day beauty treatments. The charcoal being used in teeth whitening products on sale today is made from the same base materials as that used on the barbie, although it’s the “activated” portion of the name being sold as an effective tooth whitening agent.

Charcoal mainly comes from coconut shells, olive pits, sawdust and coal. It is then exposed to high temperatures which “activates” it, changing its internal structure. The activation gets rid of any potentially harmful chemical components. Due to this process, activated charcoal is more porous than untreated charcoal, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea to use on your teeth. As there have been no long term studies on the effects of activated charcoal teeth whitening, it is a largely unknown product, and not one that we would feel comfortable recommending.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Our patients often ask us ‘is teeth whitening safe?’ and it’s actually very sensible to be cautious. Putting any substance on your teeth that is strong enough to remove tough stains can be dangerous, and it’s wise to ask questions! Charcoal tooth whitening products are very abrasive, even if you use a quality product. It works through a mechanical process, rather than a chemical reaction, meaning that brushing teeth with charcoal whitens by physically scrubbing stains off the surface. Whilst this may leave teeth looking visibly whiter, it also means that an irreplaceable layer of enamel has been removed from the teeth’s surface which can leave them feeling extremely sensitive.

Not only can brushing teeth with activated charcoal damage the enamel; it can also be extremely bad for your gums. Over an extended period of time, charcoal can wear your gums down which can cause a whole range of issues. In very bad cases, a gum graft may be required to repair the damage caused by brushing teeth with charcoal.

Some people think that if their teeth look good, then they don’t need to see their dentist. White teeth don’t necessarily mean healthy teeth, and your dentist provides important services that help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. Activated charcoal teeth whitening can also actually have the reverse effect on crowns, bridges and veneers, leaving them discoloured. Not only does this not look great aesthetically, but it’s a huge waste of the money you have already spent on dental work.

You should talk to your dentist if you’re considering activated charcoal teeth whitening, as its likely they will recommend a safer alternative. If you are considering teeth whitening in general, Boon Dental offers a range of procedures that can leave you with a whiter smile, without breaking down your tooth enamel. Philips Zoom teeth whitening is an in-chair treatment that’s perfect if you’re pushed for time – smiles can look brighter and whiter after just 1 hour of the LED whitening procedure. The brightening system is supervised by a dentist for safe and effective results, which most importantly don’t damage your teeth.

Every person is different, and so are their dental needs. Everyone wants to have their brightest smile. The professionals at Boon Dental offer several options for professional teeth whitening at our two locations in Ropes Crossing & Wentworth Point. Contact us for more information or book your appointment online today!