Self-care never ends – even when you’ve got a baby-on-board! Your maternity leave might have made it easier to find time to browse the web, and those pretty Pinterest posts might make you want to do something about your ever-changing appearance.
If you caught wind of charcoal, you might have found yourself with a long list of natural personal care remedies to help your body cope with the changes that pregnancy brings. Among the most impressive benefits of charcoal? Teeth whitening.
But hold your horses. Before you dive into a new dental care routine, it’s important to consider the facts. Is charcoal safe for teeth whitening during pregnancy? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is Activated Charcoal?
As an all-natural substance, activated charcoal has been making rounds throughout different markets as a suitable substitute for a variety of products. Lots of natural health advocates advertise charcoal as a powerful active ingredient that can be used to replace numerous chemical ingredients in the typical store-bought self-care products we use.
Activated charcoal is made by exposing coconut husk, wood, willow peat, or coal to intense heat through steam activation. Using any of these ingredients results in the same product – activated carbon in the form of charcoal. It’s used for a variety of home and health purposes and has found particular prominence in the market of dental products.
Formulations that incorporate charcoal as an active ingredient use its potent capacity to absorb toxins, chemicals, and contaminants to remove stains from teeth. Its abrasive properties also make it effective at exfoliating the teeth, so to speak, by dislodging waste material and plaque from the enamel.
The result is a whiter, brighter, better-looking smile that anyone would be proud to flaunt. But is charcoal safe for use during pregnancy?
Oral Health During Pregnancy
Your entire body changes as you go through the process of pregnancy, including your dental conditions. Observing the proper oral care techniques can help prevent the common issues that women face as they go through the pregnancy journey.
Some of the most common oral health problems that pregnant women face include:
- Gum Disease – During pregnancy, your body goes through drastic shifts in hormonal balance, allowing the proliferation of pimples and acne to name a few issues. Aside from the obvious skin problems though, gum disease also becomes fairly likely during pregnancy.
Hormones can make gums sensitive and prone to bleeding, causing cuts and bruises even with gentle brushing and oral care practices.
How Can Charcoal Help? Activated charcoal is known to bind to bacteria and other contaminants. Which is why it might be used in the process of disinfecting wounds and minor cuts. In the oral cavity, it can help clean out the sensitive gums. So that if they do bleed, they become less prone to infection.
Charcoal is abrasive though, so using it as a toothpaste substitute might cause more damage to your soft gums. Instead of rubbing it against your teeth and gums, swish it around your mouth by making DIY charcoal mouthwash.
This should whiten your teeth and prevent any damage to your gums, letting you enjoy the benefits of a cleaner grin while supporting gum health.
- Dry Mouth – Similarly to sensitive gums, dry mouth can happen as the result of hormonal changes. This can be a problem since saliva is necessary to protect the teeth and gums from decay and infection.
How Can Charcoal Help? While charcoal can’t normalize the production of saliva, it can eliminate the dangerous bacteria in the oral cavity that might cause infection in the first place. On top of that, charcoal can also restore proper pH balance in the mouth, preventing harmful colonies from thriving in the absence of sufficient saliva.
Pregnancy and Enamel Erosion
Research has found that pregnant women are more prone to the degradation of enamel especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. This is especially true for women with a previous history of dental problems concerning the outermost layer of the teeth.
Morning sickness can cause frequent vomiting, which coats the teeth in acidic material that can work away the enamel over time. With routine exposure to acidic vomit, a pregnant woman’s teeth can lose their first defense against tooth decay.
So, what does that have to do with charcoal? The abrasive texture of charcoal is also known to cause damage to the enamel, which may exacerbate the effects of morning sickness on the teeth.
If you’re a pregnant woman hoping to whiten your teeth, avoid using charcoal with a toothbrush since it can heighten the risk of enamel damage. Charcoal mouthwash and gargle solutions often make more ideal whitening remedies for expectant mothers.
If you want to make doubly sure, consult with your dentist to find out the best way to use charcoal to whiten your teeth without losing sight of your pregnancy.