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Does Charcoal Teeth Whitening Work?

You must have seen numerous teeth-whitening options on the internet. Teeth-whitening is indeed a favorite subject in modern society. There is a broad spectrum of teeth-whitening options available. However, recently, the promotion of teeth-whitening with charcoal or charcoal based products has taken the social media by a storm. This raises a question: Is charcoal whitening effective? Moreover, if so, to what degree is useful. Is it worth the big hullabaloo?

What Is a Charcoal tooth Paste?


As the name suggests an active ingredient in these products is charcoal. The word charcoal might recommend to some the materials used in briquettes for the grill, or the charcoal used by an artist. When talking in the context of teeth-whitening products, the charcoal referred to here is certainly far superior. It is the activated form of charcoal. Along with activated charcoal, the charcoal-based whitening toothpaste has other ingredients, mainly, foaming agents and fragrance. You might even find mint flavor, baking soda, or coconut oil along with the charcoal. Addition of fluoride is also a possibility. Further, the composition may take the form of tablets or even powder rather than a paste.

What Is Activated Charcoal?


As pointed out by the US National Institute of Health, activated charcoal comes from similar sources as natural charcoal. These include most common wood, peat, petroleum, coal or shell of coconut or other organic material rich in carbon. The main difference is in production processing. To activate ordinary charcoal, it must be exposed to a particular gas that makes it far more porous. This increased porosity makes the charcoal far more absorbent. These pores can easily absorb and hold gas molecules. Such activated charcoal is often used for filtering water in underdeveloped locations to remove bad odors.

Charcoal in The Ancient Tooth Powders


The fact is that people have been using charcoal powder for making tooth powders and toothpaste since ancient times. This is still prevalent in remote societies where modern marketing has not penetrated. The preferred source of such charcoal was almond or peanut shells or any other waste organic material readily available. Almond skin was preferred, perhaps, because of the medicinal properties of almonds. The charcoal powder had advantages as an abrasive cleaner. It was soft, readily available, and virtually free of cost. It was often mixed with powdered alum {KAl(SO4)2. 12H2O}, which is considered an anti-bacterial agent and also acts as an abrasive.

Does Charcoal Whiten Teeth?


Now that is the real question. Moreover, frankly speaking, the answer is still not available. It is proposed that the activated charcoal, is a sound absorbent- hence the example of bad odor we have already mentioned- should absorb the staining chemicals from the surfaces of your teeth. This is not a very logical conclusion. Gas will invariably diffuse into pores. Stable compounds which have already reacted with the enamel may be severe for charcoal pores to coax back. The best, perhaps, we can say about the effect of charcoal is to remove mild plaque while acting as an abrasive. A study which was published in the Journal of the American Dental Association concludes that the subject of teeth whitening with charcoal needs much more research. There is not enough scientific evidence available at present to say anything conclusively about its effectiveness of charcoal or charcoal products as a whitener of teeth or otherwise.

However, It Is Harmless!


While we cannot say with certainty about the teeth-whitening effect of charcoal or activated charcoal, it is quite right that no adverse impact of charcoal toothpaste or powders has been reported anywhere. Moreover, you may stick to ancient wisdom and hope for good results. A warning is, of course, in good order. Charcoal is black. Be careful with your clothes when using charcoal toothpaste. Moreover, stay tuned for more certain information from the dental experts.

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