Americans love white teeth. They truly do. In fact, it’s become something of a national obsession in recent decades, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If the quest for bright, white teeth and a perfect smile helps to motivate people to stick to their recommended daily dental hygiene routines and show up for their scheduled dental appointments, that’s something that we should encourage – right? If only it were that simple. Unfortunately, obsessions sometimes lead people to take risks that they otherwise wouldn’t, and that can end up doing more harm than good.
Case in point: there’s a new fad that’s sweeping some parts of the nation, and it involves the use of charcoal as a teeth whitener. For many people, that probably evokes images of someone rubbing a charcoal briquette across their teeth, so you’re not alone if that’s the first thing that crossed your mind. In reality, the charcoal whitening technique involves the use of a charcoal supplement that can be purchased online or in health food outlets.
The Charcoal Video that Started It All
The fad began innocently enough. A YouTube video from the Mama Natural user account offered a demonstration of the charcoal brushing technique a few months ago. The video’s host used the supplement to brush her teeth for several minutes, rinsed, and then explained how it all works. And before you ask, the answer is yes – the supplement did blacken her teeth during the brushing process. It’s charcoal, after all.
According to the host, Genevieve, the charcoal in the supplement is so absorbent that it picks up toxins and bacteria and removes stains as well. The video went viral soon after its release, and it’s not difficult to imagine that at least some viewers are even now using this “whitening technique” in their own dental hygiene regimens.
If you’re thinking about rushing out to the health food store to grab your own charcoal capsules, don’t. While this might sound like an easy and inexpensive way to whiten your teeth, it’s important to understand that it has no official backing from dental care professionals. The American Dental Association has never done any research into charcoal whitening techniques or products, and dentists question its safety in terms of potential long-term impact on tooth enamel and structural integrity.
The ADA has cited questions about the abrasiveness of these products, and dental professionals are basically united in their recommendation that patients wait for research to be conducted before they adopt techniques like this. This is especially important when you consider that your teeth can suffer permanent damage when exposed to highly abrasive materials and products.
For now, professional dental whitening remains the safest option for those who want a brighter, whiter smile. At Ebenezer Dental, we always recommend that our patients rely on safe, proven whitening techniques, and avoid flash fads that could ultimately do more harm than good. To learn more about how your teeth can look their whitest, or to schedule an appointment with the best dentist in midtown Manhattan, contact us today.