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We Tried Brushing With Activated Charcoal and Here's What Happened

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Recently, my mom purchased some activated charcoal that claims to whiten teeth. When I thought about it, the question became: “how can black powder whiten my teeth?” I immediately doubted it, but after using the charcoal I realized how important a component it is in my daily dental hygiene routine. Over the past two weeks, the activated charcoal has delivered positive results. I've noticed a decrease in plaque, and my teeth don't have as many stains. However, like all things, while there are benefits, there may also be negatives that you'd like to avoid. If you're contemplating adding it as part of your oral health care, keep reading for the pros and cons I discovered and researched when brushing with charcoal powder.

Pros

Removes Surface Stains
 
Activated charcoal powder isn’t the same charcoal used to fire up a grill. According to St. Joseph Health, “it is more porous, which allows it to draw out chemicals from a substance.” Surface stains are the more apparent substances on your teeth. Because charcoal can draw chemicals out, it is relatively easy to remove stains from teeth.
 
Bad Breath
 
When combined with a regular dental care routine—flossing, brushing and rinsing—charcoal can kill off bad-breath bacteria (Bazaar). 
 
Affordable
 
Whether you buy activated charcoal toothpaste, a capsule, or the powder, most options come in various sizes for less than $10.

Combats Dieting Problems
 
Activated charcoal is known to get rid of the surface stains caused by beverages such as tea, coffee, and wine. If your diet involves dark drinks brushing with charcoal can brighten your teeth so they aren’t as affected. 

Cons

Surface Level Whitening
 
Charcoal kills off surface stains, but it isn’t known to penetrate deep within the tooth to whiten. Results are more positive when you moderately include charcoal in your hygiene routine. 

Enamel Destruction
 
Enamel covers the outer layer of each tooth in your mouth. It is also the most visible part of your tooth, so if it incurs any damage it may be observable. If you use activated charcoal regularly you could potentially destroy your teeth's enamel (St. Joseph Health). Refrain from overusing it when brushing to avoid the risk of dental problems. 
 
Messy Process
 
Putting black powder in your mouth seems like a messy problem, and it is. Incorporating charcoal into your routine does have some dirty risks. For instance, your toothbrush will be black, the sink covered in powder, and your teeth will need extra attention to get the little specks of powder out. If you aren’t willing to allow your teeth to get messy to get clean, then I strongly recommend avoiding activated charcoal. 
 
Take a look at this video for the process I followed when brushing: 
 
 

 
 
Do you know of any other benefits or drawbacks regarding activated charcoal? Share them with us in the comments below!

SOUL REPORTER | Shelby Wingate is a rising senior at Whitefield Academy in Mableton, Georgia. The extremely competitive athlete plays basketball and runs track for her school. While she does love sports, Shelby uses her competitive nature to excel in academics and will apply that same drive when she attends college to major in Journalism or Communications and minor in French.