Brushing with activated charcoal to brighten your smile is taking over social media

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Millions of views on YouTube videos, with what looks like an abnormal way to whiten teeth.

"Definitely messy it would get all over the sink and it just kind of looked like you were eating dirt for awhile," said patient Wyatt Kanemoto.

The new sensation is activated charcoal, a supplement used to detox your body.

"I saw charcoal all over social media posts right? Started with the black mask, and then the teeth whitening, so I said hey let's try it and bought some off of Amazon," said Kanemoto.

It is seen in juice bars, face masks, hailed as a hangover remedy and most importantly used to reverse allergic reactions.

"I have heard of a dietician using it when she was exposed to an allergen she knows she was allergic to help trap some of the offending allergens so she wouldn't have a reaction but that's kind of the best use for it that we know," said Registered Dietician Sunny Yingling.

According to the National Institute of Health, manufacturers heat common charcoal with a gas, causing it to develop pores, which help activate trap chemicals.

Those chemicals trap toxins in your gastrointestinal tract and prevent your body from absorbing them but dieticians say it can knock the nutrients out at the same time.

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Brushing your way to a brighter smile with a substance you wouldn't expect is taking the internet by storm-- charcoal.

"So things like medications in your bodies and things like nutrients coming from your foods, it's going to trap those compounds as well and get rid of them," said Yingling.

Kanemoto from Fresno says he jumped aboard and followed the fad when he first started seeing social media posts about using charcoal as a natural way to whiten his teeth.

"Got it, came in a little tub, you would just wet a toothbrush, dip it in, brush your teeth like normal, tried it for two or three weeks but did not see any results," said Kanemoto.

The chat about charcoal took his dentist Adam Shinkawa by surprise and he started to research.

"What they do know is that it is abrasive on the tooth structure, and so what happens over time is if someone is using the charcoal toothpaste too much what happens is it slowly removes the outer stains on the teeth but its also removing the enamel layer," said Shinkawa.

Dentists say once you strip the enamel, there is no going back. Not only discoloring your teeth in the long run but also increasing sensitivity.

Dr. Shinkawa says his cousin gave the trend a try too and ran into some trouble

"What happened was when she was brushing her teeth with it she noticed like the next day that she still had some black material stuck between her teeth in her gums and she wasn't able to remove it with her toothbrush so she kind of got in a panic luckily shes my cousin and so she contacted me and came in and I was able to remove some of the black specks that were still in there from the charcoal," said Shinkawa.

While charcoal may be beneficial to prevent an allergic reaction and for short-term detoxes. Health professionals recommend consulting with a doctor or nutritionist before chasing the charcoal trend.

"Right now its definitely in the fad category, it sounds great because a lot of people categorize it in a way to detox or to cleanse but 0305 a really important thing to remember is you have kidneys and you have a liver you have organs in the body that are meant to help cleanse the body so really at the end of the day its not doing you a greater good than what your organs are going to be able to do for you," said Yingling.
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