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Does Activated Charcoal Really Whiten Your Teeth?

These days, I particularly take tips on natural home remedies with a pinch of salt. Manufacturers and marketers feed off the vibes and dangle before us what they want us to hear instead of what we should know. Today’s topic is one question that has lingered for some time on the internet: What is activated charcoal and how exactly does it work on the teeth?

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal isn’t the normal byproduct of burning wood that is used in stoking fires. Instead, it is charcoal that has been passed under high-pressure gas. This process causes the charcoal particles to have small pockets or micropores – a factor that makes it able to adsorb extremely tiny substances.

Adsorption refers to the adhesion of thin layers of molecules to the surfaces of substances they come in contact with. In early medicine, this feature of activated charcoal made it a choice substance for the adsorption of ingested poison. Today, it is no longer advisable as the active charcoal’s ability to also adsorb other substances like vitamins outweighs the benefits of adsorbing poisonous substances.

Does activated charcoal whiten teeth?

It is this ability to adhere to tiny substances that has placed activated charcoal on the podium of the beauty market. In the actual sense, activated charcoal does not whiten the teeth. It rather binds to and adsorbs substances which stain the teeth. Users apply the charcoal – which comes in powder or paste form – to their teeth for about 2 to 3 minutes before rinsing it off.

However, activated charcoal ought not to be the go-to substance when it comes to teeth whitening. This is because it is abrasive and can cause the eroding of the teeth’s thick enamel. With prolonged use, the exposed enamel reveals the yellowish inner dentin. This method of teeth whitening is thus counterproductive.

When it comes to dental hygiene, in addition to daily brushing and flossing, the best bet is a periodic checkup with a dentist. Moreover, not all cases of teeth whitening are necessary. Your teeth’s intrinsic colour may not be necessarily white and this doesn’t mean that they are in any way unhealthy.

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Nnenna is an editor and writer at Connect Nigeria. She loves fine art, books and places.

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