Charcoal teeth whitening method creates concerns for dentists - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Charcoal teeth whitening method creates concerns for dentists

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Activated charcoal. (WFSB photo) Activated charcoal. (WFSB photo)

With all the products available for teeth whitening, one method involves actually turning them black.

Using “activated charcoal” is a means that’s gaining a lot of attention.

It’s also been raising a lot of questions.

Eyewitness News took the trend to a dentist in New Britain.

“People want instant gratification,” said Dr. Richard Lechner. “They want to clean their teeth and bleach their teeth in 10 seconds and they think that this is the way to do it.”

Lechner said with activated charcoal, there are concerns.

“First of all, some people may not understand you need to use good grade activated charcoal,” he explained.

Activated charcoal is a form of carbon that goes through a process where it’s heated and becomes very porous.

“Those pores are the properties that are able to absorb toxins or stains,” Lechner said. “Or if someone poisons them self, they use it in the ER to absorb the toxins.”

“It does get rid of everything else, but it also gets rid of some of the good vitamins and minerals that we really do need,” said Dr. Saira Rani of UConn Family Medicine.

As for the effects on teeth, Lechner said it could even wear away the enamel.

“I'd hate to see someone brush for 3 minutes a day and a couple months later, all their enamel is gone,” he said.

Lechner recommended looking for products that contain the bleaching agent carbamide peroxide.

“It comes down to brushing our teeth twice a day, using dental floss, and seeing your dentist twice a year,” he said.

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