Does Activated Charcoal Tooth Powder Work?

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Beauty magazines and natural home remedy blogs have been talking up a storm about activated charcoal tooth powder. While it’s not a miracle cure for all discolored teeth, this unlikely solution actually has the potential to help remove many stains and whiten your smile.

Activated charcoal can be made from petroleum as well as plant ingredients, such as nutshells. The “activated” part means that the carbon has been heated up to extreme temperatures. For serious tooth discoloration, there are better options out there including prescription whiteners and veneers. For minor, more common teeth staining, however, charcoal can be quite safe and effective.

Activated Charcoal as a Teeth Whitener

Charcoal absorbs things so well that people use it for a wide variety of remedies — such as pills to reduce bloating and facial scrubs to help with acne. It’s also the substance found in many water pitcher filters. This absorption property also makes activated charcoal a “natural” way to remove stains from your teeth. It’s natural in the sense that it only contains carbon and not the variety of chemicals found in most teeth whitening products.

For teeth cleaning purposes, activated charcoal comes in powder form. Mix the charcoal powder with a little water, and you have a gritty black paste that you can apply directly to your teeth. You can safely ingest activated charcoal, so accidentally swallowing a small portion of isn’t dangerous.

Does Charcoal Really Whiten Teeth?

We’re hesitant to call activated charcoal a tooth whitener; it’s really more of a stain remover. Yellowish teeth are often discolored below the surface, and activated charcoal does not change the actual color of the tooth.

For those with discolored teeth — caused by products such as coffee, soda, and wine drinkers — activated charcoal can successfully remove surface stains.

How to Apply Activated Charcoal

As you might expect, charcoal powder is tough and gritty. It might damage the enamel of your teeth if you brush with it — and that could damage the esthetics of your smile in the long run.

Instead of brushing, we advise you to gently apply the charcoal paste to your teeth and rub it around with your fingertip. Let it sit for a few minutes, spit and rinse, then rinse and rinse some more.

Seeking a brighter, whiter smile? My Family Dentistry can help you achieve the results you want. Let us know if activated charcoal has worked for you, or get in touch with us to explore other options for cleaning and cosmetic treatments.

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