Black smiles: the stupid (and dangerous) fashion of brushing teeth with active charcoal


Black smiles are becoming viral in social networks. The cause is to brush your teeth with powdered activated carbon to whiten them. According to its advocates, this practice works to achieve a pearly white smile, does not know anything, and naturally, they consider it safe, but the experts do not agree. In fact, the whole thing is pretty … black.

In general, the most well-known property is that of retaining toxins. For this same property is used in cases of detoxification as a hospital antidote. When ingested, it acts like a sponge, retains the harmful substance and it goes through the body without effects. It is also used as a filter because it blocks contaminants because of its large number of micropores. Adsorbs, for example, toxins from water, making it drinkable.

What manufacturers say it does

However, its use outside of poisonings and filters is very controversial. It is consumed in detox foods, pre-made slimming shakes, in pills or is added to facial masks. In all these cases there is no scientific evidence of their positive efficacy, in fact, they are attributed rather negative effects such as the danger of dehydration (because it drags water) or chronic constipation, among others.

Fresh breath

As far as the teeth are concerned, their ills are not minor. Carbon Coco is one of the many companies that commercialize activated carbon to clean teeth, and they affirm to Gizmodo en Español that ” activated carbon eliminates external stains on teeth without the toxic chemical ingredients used in commercial whitening .” They also add ” can change the pH in the mouth, helping to reduce the causes of tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath “, based on a composition of 100% organic coal and finely ground, which ensure that only added Bentonite powder and lemon myrtle. Keep reading

In all these cases there is no scientific evidence of their positive efficacy, in fact, they are attributed rather negative effects such as the danger of dehydration (because it drags water) or chronic constipation

These are actually the true properties of activated charcoal

The reality is that all home whitening treatments usually include in filing or are abrasive substances for enamel. And in this case, its use is not very different from the classic bicarbonate. The level of fineness of the powder, in fact, is almost the same and consequently its power of filing also.

On the one hand, what Carbon Coco says about the PH does not make sense. There are no scientific confirmations that corroborate this supposed effect in rinses or brushing but, in any case, the pH of the saliva should be between 7 to 7.4, it is that way “natural”. If it changes, we would begin to see symptoms such as demineralization and whitish spots on the enamel.

” Although in principle the effect may seem positive because they eliminate the superficial layer, in reality, its use is a serious error, ” says Marián García , a doctor in pharmacy and nutritionist. ” It is used as a hospital antidote in intoxications and based on this, many other uses are attributed to it, but there is no scientific evidence of its efficacy in these cases. Not even as teeth whitening. Bentonite may have similar absorbing properties, but there is also no evidence of its effectiveness in whitening teeth. ”

With respect to other products: ” For its part, lemon myrtle is an essential oil. Like so many other essential oils, its use is based on tradition rather than evidence. Currently, there is a great demand for ‘natural’ remedies and the mere mention of the natural world is already a claim when paradoxically something supposedly natural can be harmful as in this case, “Garcia continues.

Teeth Whitening Products

The real danger: dehydration

Assuming no lime, which is not true, and everything happens by adsorption effect, to be taken into account: the adsorption capacity of activated carbon is between 20 and 90 percent of its own weight and retains indiscriminately but, by physics, first it retains less dense liquids. That is, 100 grams of activated carbon will retain between 20 and 90 grams of anything, but if we put it to filter water, saliva, and oil, they will cross it in that order.

In case of hospital poisoning, therefore, for an overdose or drug poisoning: 50 to 100 grams of activated charcoal are given to be ingested suddenly and followed with a dose equivalent to 12.5 grams per hour that is administered every 2 to 4 hours to get to overcome the harmful substance that has been ingested and compensate for what has been “dragged” only by water and mucous membranes.

It is not swallowed faster because, as we said, you can fall into dehydration. In fact, all the time a detoxification process lasts is forced to drink liquids constantly and it is a very gradual and slow process.

What it really does to the teeth

Now let’s apply this to the three-minute brushing. The brush gets wet, it gets into the dust and starts brushing. Lima a while dry, but as what remains in the mouth of any mortal is saliva and also the brush has been wet with water so that the dust sticks, after a few minutes of brushing will occur the obvious: dust is made Quasi-liquid and begins to “escape” from the mouth in much more than it seems to have applied. This is because it is now pasted, having adsorbed 90 percent of its own weight in saliva. When it reaches its limit, it no longer holds anything else.

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