Serving Activated Charcoal Mixed With Food For Halloween? Maybe Not

Posted on: 11 October 2017

The trend of mixing activated charcoal with foods like bread, cheese, and ice cream has taken over social media, and this seems like the perfect way to prepare food for Halloween. However, it is possible to take a trend too far, and in the case of activated charcoal, too much could be less than good for both you and your teeth.

Tooth Stains

One of the immediate effects of eating a food like activated charcoal ice cream is the black staining that takes over your mouth. This is not permanent, but you would not have a very nice smile until all the stains have gone away. For you, that could result in a few odd looks at work, but if you have kids, and they eat the charcoal-containing food, they could be in for a tough time if there are bullies at their school.

Oddly, though, activated charcoal powder is often used as a holistic teeth-whitening accessory. The powder (brushed into a paste) tends not to stain your teeth, but chances are you're not brushing your teeth with the powder and then eating ice cream. You're eating foods that have been saturated with the charcoal, and that mixture will coat your teeth.

Drug Interactions

A known problem with activated charcoal, but one that is only now starting to gain attention from the general population, is that it interferes with medications. The charcoal absorbs pretty much anything it comes into contact with (on a tiny level, obviously), which is why it's often used in hospitals along with ipecac syrup to counteract poison ingestion. In a non-medical context, though, it will absorb any drug you use, including birth control pills. There is a real risk that if you eat foods with activated charcoal, you might not get the full benefit of any medications you have to take.

Forget About All That Calcium

Along with absorbing medications, charcoal absorbs nutrients. So if you mix it with ice cream, for example, don't count that ice cream as part of your calcium intake. Chances are the charcoal has absorbed quite a bit of it, locking it away so that your body can't access it.

If you really want black food for Halloween, use a food-safe coloring available along with baking and cake decorating supplies. You may want to test the food to see what the teeth-staining factor will be like, but you won't have to worry about problems with medication or nutrient absorption. And if you've eaten charcoal and can't seem to get the stains to go away, call your dentist.

Contact a dental office like Little Peoples Dentistry for more information and assistance. 


About Marcel and the Dentist

Hi, my name is Marcel. Welcome to my site! I started it to help others learn about children's dentistry. Most of us don't remember dentist trips from our early childhood. Maybe we didn't even really care about our teeth until we started losing baby teeth. In my case, I became interested in children's dentistry as a young father. When my kids were young, I was a student, and our insurance did not cover visits to the dentist. Although my wife and I tried to teach our kids good hygiene on our own, it was difficult. When we we finally able to take them to the dentist, my little girls were scared and didn't know what was going on. Luckily, they appreciate the dentist now that they are older, but their first experiences helped teach me more about the importance of children's dentistry. Hopefully you can learn from my experiences!