As a dental assistant, I recently turned to Google to see what I could find out about something a patient asked me about in the office. She said she had heard from a girlfriend of hers that she could use activated charcoal as a less expensive and highly effective way to whiten her teeth at home, by brushing with it. She wanted to know if this was true. This wasn’t the first time I’d heard of this so I thought I’d look into it. We advised her that brushing with it likely is too abrasive to her enamel, but didn’t have much else to say about it except to research it before trying it out.
The very first thing Google gave me was a blog post titled, How to Whiten Teeth with Charcoal, written by “Katie- Wellness Mama”, not Dr. Katie, D.D.S. which certainly would have been a more dependable source. Out of pure amusement, I read the blog, and then oh my gosh, there’s a video, too! I’ll admit, it was mildly entertaining watching a stranger brush her teeth with black, chunky charcoal in her home bathroom…
As much as I wanted to dislike and rag on Katie, I did appreciate that she did not claim to have all the facts, she literally just told people how to brush their teeth with charcoal, and even showed us. And she did state, on more than one instance in the post, that she is not a medical or dental professional, but she did consult her dentist friend and mentioned that people should check with their dentist before trying to whiten with activated charcoal. She also provided links to healthcare sites about the use of activated charcoal for food and other poisoning. While she seemed more like a salesperson for activated charcoal, she clearly did her research and gave some good background information and explanation of why she thinks it is effective, in many situations. However, it is still my opinion that this is a totally useless post clogging up the internet, making it even more difficult for me to find the reputable sources of information I am searching for.
Nowadays, any person can blog about any old thing on the internet, whether it’s putting a particular spin on the facts, spreading rumors, or telling outright lies. We also have the ability to share and spread misinformation. It’s getting rather tricky to filter through what’s legit and what’s not. And to make things even more challenging, there are all these algorithms and ways of limiting your search results to things that are popular or things that the internet deems useful to you based on previous searches, popular searches, and that of your social networks. This is the age of misinformation and useless information.
Sorry Wellness Mama.