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  • Writer's pictureDr. Pearl E. Whites

Charcoal Not Cool

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

There is a recent craze with charcoal products on the market: deodorants, toothpastes, floss. There are a myriad of claims also discussing the amazing whitening benefits of charcoal. Does charcoal work?

Yes, but not like the way you may think...

My kids fed our plants milk and orange juice because they thought the plants were getting bored with water. Water is the proven solution that plants need. We also have proven products that work to safely whiten teeth: peroxide products like Crest Whitening strips or Opalescence. Charcoal is a new craze just like cocaine toothache drops and 7-Up to infants were too.

In a society where "I want it now" mentality, we want immediate gratification and charcoal delivers on that promise. Bleaching products seep out debris from dentinal tubules that we liken to grime on our floors. However, charcoal has some negative side effects you should be aware of before you decide to paint your teeth black.

Charcoal is VERY abrasive. Aggressive and/or excessive charcoaling will wear the outer shell (enamel) of your teeth exposing the very yellow inner dentin layer of your teeth. It also leads to increased sensitivity,

The dental bible, Journal of the American Dental Association, completed a literature review in September 2017 of all studies done on charcoal. They found there is no evidence that charcoal is effective or safe.

We have had patients attempt to bleach with charcoal. It did whiten their teeth but the better benefit for us dental providers was that every pit and cavity was stained black from charcoal debris enhancing all those deficiencies.

Charcoal can work, but we feel that there are safer products sold either over-the-counter or at dental offices that we endorse instead.

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