What is Activated Charcoal?Used for centuries as the universal antidote to eliminate toxins throughout the body, activated charcoal has a wide array of uses in medicine including poison control, cholesterol reduction, and even teeth whitening. Derived from wood, coal, and even coconut husks, activated charcoal is a fine black powder that has been heat treated to become more porous. It is this high porosity that allows for the binding and removal of toxins. In the case of oral care, the powder can remove stains from our teeth. Does it Whiten Teeth?The abrasive properties of activated charcoal help remove plaque and stains from our teeth. As a result, teeth are brighter and appear whiter. Burt's Bees Activated Charcoal is made from coconut shells and even has a refreshing aftertaste. However, the missing fluoride content requires that you brush with toothpaste afterwards.
For a fluoridated toothpaste with activated charcoal, try Crest 3D Whitening Charcoal. Other charcoal influenced oral care products include the Oral B Charcoal Whitening Toothbrush, which in my opinion isn't as effective at whitening but does have a nice design with gum stimulating soft bristles.
Is It Safe?Caution should be taken when using activated charcoal orally and it is not recommended for frequent or daily use. There are no long term studies to determine the safety of activated charcoal and oral health. While it may brighten our teeth, it could possibly have adverse effects on enamel or even harm our gums. If ingested, it could cause black stool, vomiting, black tongue, or diarrhea. Be sure to discuss your oral hygiene regimen with your dental team and when shopping for products, look for the ADA Seal from the American Dental Association. This label means that the Council on Scientific Affairs has determined the product to be safe and effective.