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Activated Charcoal and Your Oral Health
Social media influencers who are against “Big Pharma” and/or “government medicine” will have you believing that just about anything is a valid substitute for commonly applied dental hygiene products. With all of the paranoia related to fluoride, it’s no wonder. Fluoride does present some health complications if it is taken in too high a quantity. So, they’re not entirely wrong to think that you need to be careful with how much fluoride you take. Big Pharma doesn’t always have our best interests at heart. That’s true as well.
Nonetheless, your average influencer only has one goal: To make money using their platform. They are paid advertisers. That being said, not everything they say is completely incorrect. However, nothing they say should be taken seriously. Case in point: Activated charcoal.
Claim: Activated Charcoal Leads to Whiter Teeth
Like most claims, there is an element of truth. Those who use black toothpaste that uses activated charcoal will have whiter teeth temporarily. Unfortunately, black charcoal is so abrasive that it removes surface enamel from your teeth. In other words, you slowly lose enamel from your teeth. Since enamel is what makes your teeth white in the first place, on a long enough timescale, you will end up with discolored teeth. This can happen to anyone as we all lose tooth enamel as we age. That’s why older people tend to have yellower teeth than younger people. They simply have less enamel. If you’d like to spur the process forward a decade and lose the whiteness of your enamel in your 40s, then activated charcoal is a great way to do it.
Manufacturers claim that activated charcoal can lead to whiter teeth, remineralization, and has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. There is little or no evidence to support these claims. In fact, there is more evidence to support claims that activated charcoal causes more damage to teeth than readily available alternatives.
Not only does the abrasiveness of activated charcoal result in tooth enamel being sanded off the surface of your teeth, but it leaves microscopic pits in divots in the tooth that make it easier for bacteria to take up residence. Both increase your risk of tooth rot and gum disease.
But I Don’t Like Fluoride!
That’s okay. We dentists understand why. There are alternatives to fluoride that strengthen tooth enamel and eliminate bacteria better than activated charcoal. One alternative is Xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that helps prevent gum disease and is (no pun) found in many gums. For those who are concerned about too much fluoride, Xylitol is a better alternative than activated charcoal. Please keep these products away from your dogs as dogs can have a serious (even fatal) reaction to the substance.
Talk to a Flagstaff, AZ Dentist Today
Peak Family Dental Care helps Flagstaff area families with all of their dental needs. For more information on perfecting your smile, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.