Brushing with Charcoal-Good or Bad?

When it comes to improving their smile, the majority of patients we see would like to have whiter teeth.  While reading a magazine or surfing the internet, you may have seen several new methods that are being used to naturally whiten your teeth at home. Just because a method is natural, it doesn’t mean that it is safe and healthy for your teeth.

One of these methods is eating acidic fruits such as lemons. Although fruits are healthy for you in moderation, high quantities of very acidic fruits like lemons can be harmful to your enamel. These acidic fruits can wear away the outer layer of enamel and you can become more susceptible to sensitivity as well as cavities. Enamel is the smooth white coating on your teeth that protects them, once this layer is gone it will never come back!

Another new whitening method that has taken over the internet lately is brushing with activated charcoal. It is said that the charcoal will actually absorb any toxins and stains from your teeth and the end result will be a bright white smile. This is not the case. Brushing with activated charcoal or charcoal toothpaste is extremely abrasive and can erode the enamel on your teeth. This can in turn make your teeth appear more yellow. The dentin layer underneath your enamel is a softer, yellow tissue. Once the enamel layer thins, the dentin becomes more visible.

The best ways to keep your teeth white are healthy homecare habits such as:

  • Brushing two times daily for two minutes
  • Flossing at least once per day
  • Avoiding all tobacco products
  • Limiting foods that easily stain teeth such as coffee, tea, and red wine
  • Regular dental check-ups

If you are interested in whiter teeth, discuss this with your dentist and they can recommend a safe and effective product for your specific needs.