Dental experts have warned Nigerians against brushing their teeth with charcoal, noting that it is a harmful practice that can cause permanent damage.
There have been misconceptions about the use of charcoal as a home remedy to remove stains and whiten yellow teeth.
However, Dentists have revealed that the persistent use of charcoal does not whiten the teeth and only leaves behind stains, especially on the gums.
Chief Dentist and Clinical Director of First Mobile Dental Care, Dr. Tunde Banjo and another dentist Dr. Peace Nwoha, who is a member of the Global Health Network revealed this in an interview with PUNCH Healthwise.
Dr. Banjo revealed that, “Using charcoal to whiten the teeth can damage them because of the abrasives it contains. Persistence use of charcoal will erode the teeth and cause tooth wear down and lesions called abrasion, which will lead to tooth sensitivity.
“Persistent use of charcoal can also affect the gum and other structures in the mouth. It may damage the microflora in the mouth resulting in mouth ulcers.
“Long-term use will result in severe tooth wear lesion, which can cause severe teeth sensitivity and damage to the outer covering of the teeth, called the enamel, thus, exposing the dentin.
“Constipation, vomiting, and tongue discolouration are side effects that have been associated with persistent use of charcoal.”
Dr. Peace Nwoha also explained that persistent use of charcoal will gradually erode the enamel, which is translucent and slowly reveal the inner yellowish dentin of the teeth.
“The downside of using charcoal, aside from the gradual yellowing of the teeth is that most activated charcoal toothpastes don’t contain fluoride, an active ingredient that protects the teeth against caries. This makes them susceptible to tooth decay and cavities.
“It is not advisable to use it daily, once a week is what could be recommended for those who use it.”
The experts advised that teeth whitening should be done with caution and should consult a qualified dentist for guidance.
They also advised that extrinsic stains appear on the teeth and can be cleaned by proper oral hygiene practices like scaling and polishing, brushing twice daily, use of mouthwash, flossing, among others.
“Intrinsic stains are inside the teeth and can be caused by medical conditions and medications such as tetracycline. Your dentist would examine and draw out a treatment plan for you, which may include veneers or crowns on your teeth.”
Meanwhile, researchers in different studies found no evidence that the use of charcoal can remove stains from teeth.