Benefits & Risks of Activated Charcoal to Whiten Teeth (Doctor's Advice)

Hi, I'm Dr. Joe Nemeth.

Im a periodontist in Southfield

Michigan, and I want to talk a little bit today


Apperantly this rage with charcoal

toothpaste, or charcoal powder in your

toothpaste to whiten your teeth.

Number one, it's not regular charcoal, it's

activated charcoal which means it's been processed

differently so that it has

more actual activity

than regular charcoal.

It's used in

water filters.

It may have some other cosmetic

applications and now people are begining

to use it to whiten their teeth

and brighten their smile.

The charcoal comes in different forms as far as using it as a toothpaste.

You can actually get it as a toothpaste.

You can get it as a powder that you add or mix in with your regular toothpaste.

You can also get it in capsules that you open up and put in with your toothpaste, or you

can just get it and not even use regular toothpaste, you just dip it in the charcoal powder and

use it that way.

And heres a really neat one, they have charcoal toothbrushes.

So you may not even need toothpaste or charcoal powder, just use one of the charcoal toothbrushes.

But does it when your teeth?

Well, probably it does whiten the teeth, but if it whitens the teeth and if it whitens

the teeth very significantly that means it could be abrasive, and it could possibly be

very abrasive.

We don't really know because no long term studies have been used.

If it's abrasive and you use it regularly, that means it's likely to thin out the enamel

causing the tooth to become thinner.

If it becomes thinner it can fracture it can chip.

As it thins it becomes translucent so it may affect the appearance of the tooth.

We don't really know.

It can cause notching or sort of ditching or cutting in the roots of the teeth if its

very abrasive.

I've seen that in other situations with abrasive toothpastes.

Since I'm a periodontist people have asked me, well how does it affect the gum tissue?

From what I've heard it may cause some irritation of the gum again if it's abrasive it may cause

irritation of the tissue, it may cause reddening of the gum tissue, and by the way if the gum

tissue gets a little redder it may make the teeth look a little whiter because in contrast

to the normal pink tissue if It's redder the teeth may just look whiter.

But let's talk about the whitening of the teeth because everybody thinks hey you want

white teeth, I'll use this product to make my teeth white.

So maybe it does whiten the teeth, that could be, but if you have crowns or veneers or fillings

in the teeth that are made to match the shade of the tooth, when you whiten the tooth, you're

not going to whiten the fillings or the crowns or the veneers they're going to stay the same


So, if everything looks like it's an even nice color now, then you start whitening the

teeth and it successfully whitens them, but it doesn't whiten the fillings or the crowns

or the veneers in the teeth, you may look worse because you may have some teeth that

are whiter and some teeth that are not whiter, parts of the tooth that are whiter and parts

of the tooth that are not whiter.

You have to be really extra careful and thoughtful before you do something to whiten the teeth.

So, these are sort of important things to note, and again we don't really have long

term studies to know what activated charcoal will do in you mouth.

It may be great it may be beneficial, and it may really not be.

I mean there could be long term effects that we just don't know about.

I mean the FDA spends lots of time clearing drugs and certain kinds of toothpastes.

This certainly hasn't been cleared or approved by the FDA in any way that I know of.

If one is going to use a charcoal powder or a charcoal toothpaste I think probably using

it occasionally might be okay.

To use it on a daily basis it would scare me I would really be concerned about it because

we don't know the long term effects.

If it does affect the gum tissue, it could cause that gum tissue to recede or to thin

out particularly if it's abrasive.

So, by the way I just want to talk about toothpaste in general, this is really, really interesting.

Almost all toothpastes are somewhat abrasive, some more than others.

There was a study done, fairly recently, indicating that if you don't use toothpaste, you're not

going to get the notching and the erosion at the gum-line that frequently occurs with

vigorous frequent brushing because the abrasiveness in the toothpaste will actually work as sort

of like a long term sandpaper and actually cut into the tooth.

So, if you don't use any toothpaste at all you will avoid that notching or erosion just

a good brush, brushing thoroughly will remove plaque, stimulate the tissue

and you don't have to worry about abrasiveness and consequences from that.

Just be careful with it, I know people are talking about it.

How well it works, we don't really know, I don't really know because long term studies

haven't been done and especially if you have other restorations in your teeth now you've

got to watch out because there could be a color disparity one you start whitening them.

So, be careful with the new charcoal rage.

At any rate, make sure your mouth is healthy, that's the most important thing.

You have a Healthy Mouth you're going to have a Healthier Body, I guarantee it.

Have a great day!

Take care.