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Activated charcoal items, the new “big thing”. In face masks, oil balm, soap, shampoo, in food, and even in toothpaste, activated charcoal has been utilized in many items and taken the world by storm. Before it became the “big thing”, people used activated charcoal as tablets to filter out bad water. They were “emergency” products for people who are going camping outdoors.

Activated charcoal is not as simple as getting charcoal from your nearest Lowes. Activated charcoal created when charcoal is exposed to high heat. Once burning charcoal at very high temperatures with specific types of wood, the charcoal is then oxidized. This then makes the charcoal very porous. The pores act as a filter.

Activated charcoal has pores that have negative electrical charge. The charge itself functions as a magnet that attracts elements such as toxins and gases. Elements such as gases and toxins have positive electrical charge. When charcoal is ingested into your body they undergo a process called adsorption. Adsorption is different from absorption due to the fact that substances such as a gas or a liquid are collected (not taken in) on the surface of another substance. That is why charcoal can be used as an anti-poison emergency treatment. For situations such as drug overdose or any type of poisoning, ingested after the first hour, activated charcoal is able to go through adsorption and collect a lot of the chemicals and toxins from the body.

Charcoal can be used to promote kidney functions and reduce unpleasant odors. While other uses can include gas reduction, skin treatment, and preventing massive hangovers.

It was said that charcoal also promotes teeth whitening. That is actually a myth due to the fact that no studies have been found. The real fact is that charcoal is a substance that is very coarse-grained. Some of the grains from charcoal toothpaste can be found present in the gums and fillings of the teeth. Charcoal toothpaste when applied to the teeth can erode the enamel due to its grainy structure. The enamel is a protective layer on the teeth that keeps your teeth white. By removing the enamel, the dentin is exposed. This is very controversial due to the fact that there are lots of charcoal toothpaste products that inform their audience that they make teeth whiter. This is due to the fact that the dentin is supposed to be yellow in your teeth. That could be a reason that your teeth turn yellow after using toothpaste. The more you use charcoal toothpaste, the more layers are taken from the teeth. Your teeth become sensitive.

So when you go shop for your toothpaste, make sure it is products that are approved by the ADA (American Dental Association). Charcoal is not approved by the ADA, so proceed with caution.

Activated charcoal information: General Carbon Corp.. General Carbon Corporation. (2018, October 5). Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://generalcarbon.com/facts-about-activated-carbon/activated-charcoal/

Charcoal toothpaste: Is it a safe way to whiten your teeth? Welcome. (n.d.). Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://www.milnerdentistry.com/patient-information/blog/more-blogs/charcoal-toothpaste/

Dentistry, G. (2020, January 28). Does activated charcoal toothpaste work. https://www.tempesmiledesign.com/patient-information/blog/2020/1/28/does-activated-charcoal-toothpaste-work/. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://www.tempesmiledesign.com/patient-information/blog/2020/1/28/does-activated-charcoal-toothpaste-work/

Kwok, K. (2020, February 3). Does Charcoal toothpaste work and is it safe? San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://sdperio.com/does-charcoal-toothpaste-work-and-is-it-safe/

Moore, D. (2019, August 31). Is Charcoal toothpaste safe? – dentist Charlotte. Is Charcoal Toothpaste Safe? Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://www.drdurningmoore.com/2019/08/is-charcoal-toothpaste-safe/

Petre, A. (2021, December 2). Activated charcoal: Benefits, uses, side effects, and dosage. Healthline. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/activated-charcoal#other-uses

Santos-Longhurst, A. (2019, June 18). Charcoal toothpaste for teeth whitening: Does it work and is it safe? Healthline. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/charcoal-toothpaste#other-whitening-options

Stuart, A. (n.d.). Activated charcoal: Uses and risks. WebMD. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/activated-charcoal-uses-risks

Swenor, E. (n.d.). Is activated charcoal safe? 6 facts about this health trend. Is Activated Charcoal Safe? 6 Facts About This Health Trend. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://www.henryford.com/blog/2018/09/is-activated-charcoal-safe-6-facts-about-this-health-trend

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