Is it safe to brush with charcoal?

Charcoal is still enjoying its moment in the limelight thanks to claims that it can strip impurities from your skin and hair – and even whiten your teeth. Sounds great, but does it live up to the hype, and more importantly could it be doing more harm than good to your pearly whites?

Fans claim that activated charcoal (not the BBQ kind) binds to surface stains such as wine and coffee, whisking them away to reveal a whiter and more radiant smile.

Can charcoal damage tooth enamel?

While charcoal does indeed whiten and brighten teeth, we don’t know much about its long-term effect on the health of our mouths. There’s not yet enough research to tell us how abrasive it is on enamel, so converts could unwittingly be brushing away this protective layer.

“Our biggest concern is abrasiveness – you don’t want it to wear away at the enamel” says Kimberly Harms from the American Dental Association (ADA). She goes on to highlight that no teeth whitening products containing charcoal have been approved by the ADA.

Removing enamel can actually make teeth appear less white! This is because the yellow hued layer of dentine that lies underneath starts to show through. More importantly, teeth can also become more sensitive and eventually start to crack.

Unfortunately we can’t regenerate dental enamel (yet) and more severe cases will need to be treated using bonding or veneers.

Our advice

With the lack of research that’s been carried out into the safety of activated charcoal we will be advising our patients to steer clear in favour of tried and tested treatments.

Here at Sensu, we offer professional home teeth whitening. This offers excellent results and your treatment will be supervised by a registered dental professional.

While over-the-counter treatments aren’t quite as effective because they contain a much lower percentage of hydrogen peroxide, they can lift surface stains to gently brighten your smile. A session with one of our hygienists can also make a big difference to your smile, removing any yellow/brown tartar that might be lurking between your teeth.

To find out more about how we can help you to maintain a white and healthy smile, contact our friendly team to arrange your free consultation*.