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Charcoal for Teeth Whitening Warning

  • Sep 27 2016

Charcoal for Teeth Whitening Warning

Q: Is using charcoal for teeth whitening dangerous?

The internet is a powerful tool. The answers to virtually any question can be “googled” in a nanosecond. Don’t want to read? Online video tutorials are wildly popular. You can learn how to do, build, or fix almost anything– from dance moves to hair braiding and house construction to computer repair– potentially saving yourself a lot of money on service professionals.

Now, it’s one thing to take a chance on replacing your television’s picture bulb before calling in a repairman for the $350 job. You’ll know in an hour if the $17 bulb you got online and the 20 minutes you spent installing it was the right decision. And if it wasn’t, you’re likely no worse off.

But can you—should you—trust your healthcare decisions to strangers on the internet?

Lack of regulation allows almost anyone to set up a website, blog, or social media account and pretty much post whatever information they want online. Unfortunately, people tend to believe that if something is published it must be true. And when it comes to your health, relying on inaccurate information could be detrimental.

Recently, an online video touting the benefits of using charcoal for teeth whitening went viral. It was created by a natural health vlogger (video blogger) and showed her brushing her teeth with activated charcoal that can be bought for about $5 online or at local markets. While she did not claim to be a dental professional, she recommended this practice be done for three to five minutes, once a day, for 3 to 5 days in a row (depending on the severity of your staining), and then again every 2-3 months thereafter for maintenance.

The American Dental Association has not evaluated or approved charcoal for teeth whitening.

Repeat. The ADA has not evaluated or approved charcoal for teeth whitening. Why? Well, because there is simply not enough information– and great concern– about the long-term internal effects of this highly-absorbent material on the teeth. Specifically, the abrasive material may cause enamel deterioration and or tooth erosion, which can lead to sensitivity, cavities, and/or a darkening of the teeth. There are also concerns that teeth may be left stained or blotchy if the charcoal seeps through the enamel and into the dentin where tooth color may be negatively affected.  Since you don’t grow new enamel, you may be forced to cover any damage with porcelain veneers, a beautiful but more costly option than an in-office teeth whitening procedure.

Always consult your dentist for the safest, ADA-approved teeth whitening and laser bleaching methods, including the  Zoom!™In-Office Whitening System which can brighten your teeth six to ten shades whiter in just over an hour and Take-Home bleaching kits.

Forest Hills Dentistry is a full service general and cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetics practice in Queens County, New York, currently offering Laser bleaching and whitening treatments in the office as well as at-home teeth whitening kits. Contact us here or at 718-793-6669.

Categories: Teeth Whitening

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