In an effort to obtain the whitest smiles, many people have turned to DIY teeth whitening methods. And reasonably so! A whiter smile comes with so many benefits and brightens up a look immensely. But it is imperative to understand that not all forms of whitening are safe for our teeth. For the most part, cleaning procedures simply remove stains for the teeth. Other procedures affect a part of the internal tooth to brighten the color. But some methods alter the surface of the tooth by stripping enamel which cannot be replaced.
This does not mean that all teeth whitening is a bad idea. No, no. It just means that you need to be informed on which types are best you. Time and affordability factor largely into most patients’ procedure preferences and this leads many people opting for at-home, DIY treatments. In many cases, DIY practices are totally safe. Some, however, are not.
One DIY method that has been trending in society is charcoal teeth whitening.
Videos and tutorials have been whizzing around the web showing people all over the world how brushing with charcoal or charcoal toothpaste for three to five minutes makes teeth visibly whiter.
Using charcoal to whiten is actually nothing new- in fact, it is one of the more famous ancient medicine techniques. Charcoal gained its benefit-bound reputation because of its high absorbency. Charcoal binds to pretty much everything it comes in contact with. In ancient times, it was used to absorb infection and bacteria. Helpful? Genius. Necessary today? Not really.
Since charcoal is so absorbent, it has been used as a way to whiten teeth. Just as the medicinal element could be used to absorb infection, it is being used to absorb everything off the surface of teeth.
At first, this sounds like a pretty practical use. Bacteria, acid, and food particles get entrenched in the grooves of our teeth, so why not use a potent material that can literally lift all of that bad stuff up and away?
Answer? You’ve probably guessed it already. It removes too much! Although charcoal-based products can lift tartar the surface of our teeth and give us glowing smiles, they can also bind to bacteria that are helpful to the body. Some of these bacteria aid in digestion, others in helping fight corrosion or oral disease.
Non-activated charcoal is also extremely dangerous. This means that self-administered charcoal comes with hazardous potential effects that are much more damaging to the entire body- not just the teeth!
The biggest concerns around charcoal are its unknown effects. Some medical professionals believe that it might lead to teeth erosion and enamel deterioration. Others opt out of rooting for the substance because there simply is not enough evidence that argues for the supplement as beneficial.
The best way to whiten teeth is to be preventative before acting on restorative methods. Avoid drinks that naturally bring stains- dark soda pop, red wine, coffee. When you do indulge in these, brush your teeth right away! Practice good, daily hygiene that will ensure your strongest enamel so you can fight against stains and bacteria.
If you do want to explore restorative whitening procedures, consult your dentist. You can still find an at-home method that works for your schedule and budget, and you can rest assured that it is safe and beneficial to your teeth. If you do not already have a Florida dentist, visit the Gables Family Dentistry team. Come into our Coral Gables dentistry location for all of your whitening and oral care needs!