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New health and beauty trends emerge on the internet regularly, making it challenging to discern which ones are worthwhile or even safe. Recently, a prominent dental trend on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram involves teeth whitening through brushing with activated charcoal.

Despite its popularity on the internet, charcoal whitening may not live up to the hype. Activated charcoal is not the same substance used for grilling at a summer barbecue; it is an oxidized material produced from peat, coal, wood, coconut shell, or petroleum heated with gas.

Due to its adhesive properties, toxins and surface stains can adhere to charcoal, leading some individuals to believe it is effective for eliminating tooth discoloration. While it may yield quick results initially, charcoal serves as nothing more than a temporary solution.

The abrasive nature of charcoal can potentially roughen enamel, making it more susceptible to future stains. Teeth may exhibit new stains shortly after using charcoal, potentially becoming more discolored than before.

It is crucial to highlight the implications of damaged tooth enamel, as it cannot regenerate, resulting in permanent harm. Individuals with receding gums or sensitive teeth, in particular, should avoid charcoal, as it can intensify brushing and exacerbate sensitivity.

Extended use of charcoal can deplete enamel, eventually exposing dentin—the soft, yellowish layer in the tooth. This increases the risk of cavities, tooth discoloration, and complex dental issues like periodontal disease over time.

The American Dental Association does not endorse charcoal as a safe method for whitening teeth. If you choose to use it, exercise caution.

Charcoal should be applied no more than once every other week, even if your teeth seem unaffected. The only scientifically proven safe methods for teeth whitening are ADA-approved whitening products or in-office bleaching treatments supervised by a dental professional.

Before starting any at-home whitening treatment, consult with Dr. Sindledecker and Dr. Saltz to ensure it won’t harm your teeth. If you experience sensitivity, discontinue charcoal use immediately and schedule an appointment with our office promptly.

For inquiries about whitening or to schedule an in-office whitening treatment, feel free to contact our Boca Raton office today!

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