The risks and dangers of charcoal teeth whitening products

Complete-dental-works-Charcoal-toothpaste-abrasion

An increasing number of young Australians aged in their late teens to their early 20s are opting for charcoal and bleach based teeth whitening products to achieve that Hollywood smile. In addition, Hollywood celebrities and social media influencers have also jumped in on the game to endorse and promote DIY teeth whitening products – helping to drive sales.

Sharp increase in oral damage by DIY teeth whitening products

However, along with a spike in their popularity, more reports by Australian dentists of oral injury and damage – such as chemical burns, teeth abrasion and ulcers – to DIY users have also emerged.

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has recently stated that even though there are DIY teeth whitening products and brands that perform safely and effectively when used according to instructions – but there were also those that were either too weak or too strong to have the desired safe whitening effect.

Charcoal teeth whitening products remove too much tooth enamel

The ADA has cited an English study published recently in the British Dental Journal that sums up charcoal-based teeth whitening products as a dangerous “marketing gimmick”. Besides being expensive, charcoal products don’t work and are a waste of money.

According to the English researchers the charcoal products work well initially because they abrase and wear away the top-most layer of tooth enamel to reveal a brighter under-layer of enamel.

The trouble is, tooth enamel ban be very thin in some places. Once it’s all removed by the powerful abrasive action of charcoal toothpaste, you get to the inner tooth layer called dentin. Once dentin is exposed, it becomes vulnerable to decay, cavities and infection. If that isn’t bad enough, dentin is also yellow in colour – so you’re right back where you started but worse off! Tooth enamel loss is irreversible and it won’t grow back like skin.

The safest and most effective teeth whitening options

To avoid the potential risks and dangers of over-the-counter teeth whitening products, the ADA recommends two dental options that are safe and effective to achieve a healthy brighter smile.

  • Professional in-chair teeth whitening
  • Professionally prescribed at-home teeth whitening kits

 

References

Greenwall, L. H., Greenwall-Cohen, J., & Wilson, N. H. F. (2019). Charcoal-containing dentifrices. BDJ Team6(7), 24–28. doi: 10.1038/s41407-019-0122-6

Greenwall, L. H., Greenwall-Cohen, J., & Wilson, N. H. F. (2019). Charcoal-containing dentifrices. BDJ Team6(7), 24–28. doi: 10.1038/s41407-019-0122-6

Read more

To read the BDJ review and report on charcoal whitening products, please click the following link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41407-019-0122-6

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