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.
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.
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.Share