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Truth About Charcoal Used to Whiten Teeth

Unlike the charcoal used for grilling, what's called activated charcoal is a paste that's used on the teeth. (WICS)

Using charcoal to whiten your teeth is a growing trend.

Unlike the charcoal used for grilling, what's called activated charcoal is a paste that's used on the teeth.

But dentists say the charcoal won't actually whiten teeth but only remove surface stains caused by coffee or smoking.

Dentists also say using charcoal can be messy and might be unsafe.

"When people start to brush this charcoal substance on there, we're not really sure about how abrasive charcoal is, and if it's too abrasive, and studies show that it might be, then you're taking away enamel off of your teeth," said Dr. Matt Vandermolen with Advanced Dental Care. "So, you're taking stain, but you're also taking enamel away, and you don't grow enamel back."

Dr. Vandermolen says the best thing to do is consult with your dentist on safe ways to whiten your teeth.

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