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If you have recently been to your family dentist in Newmarket, the chances are that you have read about their specialized teeth cleaning/whitening procedures on one of the billboards. A DIY simple counterpart of these chemical whitening procedures is charcoal teeth cleaning or whitening. Rubbing a piece of charcoal on your teeth may not really be your idea of dental care and we totally understand where you are coming from. Having said that, charcoal has been used for ages to clean and clear dirt and residue. Be it skin or teeth, it has been believed to have cleansing properties. However, many family dentists debate whether or not charcoal cleaning may be as effective and safe as described.

Charcoal Teeth Whitening

If you are new to the idea of charcoal cleaning, you may imagine looking all crazy with black or grey stained teeth. Don’t worry though, charcoal won’t leave your mouth and teeth looking stained. This is because charcoal teeth whitening does not use the general type of charcoal. It is a specialized ‘activated charcoal’ that is a finely milled powder like substance made from:

  • Coal
  • Coconut shells
  • Olive pits
  • Bone char
  • Sawdust

Activated charcoal is processed at extremely high temperatures which change the internal structure of the final powder and makes it quite porous. Moreover, this process also acts as a filter and gets rid of any harmful substances that may be present in the mixture. Activated charcoal has a unique ability to bind toxins and pull them out. This is the reason why it is often used in emergencies involving accidental poisoning and overdoses. It is this property because of which activated charcoal can help to clean and whiten teeth.

How Does Charcoal Help Clean Your Teeth?

There are a few proven benefits of using charcoal for your teeth. These include:

Plaque Removal

Activated charcoal attracts plaque and debris from the surface of your teeth. These bits are stuck on to the charcoal paste forming a film that when rinsed, gets washed away from the surface of the teeth.

Improved Ph Levels

If your mouth is unusually acidic, charcoal helps to improve Ph levels as it is alkaline in nature and balances out the acidity. Higher Ph levels also help to combat gum diseases and bad breath problems.

Natural Whitening

If you are sceptical about chemical whitening of teeth, charcoal may be a great option for you.

Risks Associated with Charcoal Whitening

Just like charcoal whitening provides a bountiful of advantages, it does pose some risks too.

Enamel Damage

Though most good quality charcoal powders are finely milled, some of them may scratch your enamel due to abrasion and eventually lead to eroding your natural enamel. This may make your teeth more vulnerable to dental problems and staining.


Though charcoal powders are believed to be safe, there is no concrete evidence that suggests their possible side effects in the long run. There may be potential risks that we may still be unaware of.

Myth or reality?

Many activated charcoal products advertise a rather graphic representation of how activated charcoal sucks out bad pollutants from a surface. But one may think, does it actually work? Or is it just an advertising gimmick? Most activate charcoal powders claim to have properties that whiten teeth, remove plaque deposition, prevent bad breath and prohibit bacterial growth. However, there are hardly any formal studies or research indicating whether activated charcoal is really instrumental in whitening teeth. Most dentists claim that whiter teeth are merely incidental, as activated carbon gets rid of deposits on your teeth, which when cleared naturally makes your teeth look whiter. Having said that, there is an overwhelming number of testimonials, before and after photos, and advertising behind the whitening claims, which definitely makes it believable.

At Dentistry in Newmarket, our services include general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, emergency care and more; our Newmarket dental clinic is ready to help improve your oral health. Our dental professionals are proud to provide personalized treatments for every patient. With services that include Accepting new patients now, call or go online to book an appointment!


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