SUMMARY: Before you reach a conclusion about this option for whitening your teeth, make sure to consider how activated charcoal affects your oral health.
There's nothing worse than smiling for a group picture only to realize how yellow your teeth look when the photo pops up on your social media account. You start thinking about all of the ways you can whiten your teeth: avoiding coffee, swishing baking soda, using a whitening kit - the list goes on. But have you heard of the latest craze? Some swear by brushing with activated charcoal.
You read that right: Filling your mouth with a substance that looks like dirt can potentially brighten your teeth. According to what cosmetic dentist Peter Auster shared with Harper's Bazaar magazine, this solution is a form of carbon that works like a magnet when it comes to particles. It can bind to stains, tartar, bacteria and viruses, as well as eliminate them from the mouth once you wash away the charcoal substance.
Take your time before rushing to give this fad a chance; it might be worth doing more research in regard to safety and effectiveness.
It's not a toothpaste replacement
It's important to remember that while charcoal may help to whiten your smile, that doesn't mean you should stop brushing your teeth by any means. "Activated charcoal can be used as a supplement to brushing with regular toothpaste for people who are seeking a whiter smile, but it cannot be used in place of it," Dentist Gregg Lituchy told Harper's Bazaar. "Regular toothpaste gives us the fluoride we need to fight dental decay so it's necessary to keep it as part of a daily regimen."
Essentially, using charcoal shouldn't replace your oral hygiene regimen; rather charcoal should supplement it.
Trust in traditional oral care
If one thing's for sure, it's that following traditional dental hygiene recommendations from the dentist can improve your oral cavity and lead to many of the same benefits of using activated charcoal. Brushing twice a day, flossing in the morning or at night and using mouthwash frequently will keep your pearly whites looking bright as ever, promote fresh breath, prevent cavities and reduce your chance of developing gingivitis.