Recently charcoal has taken over social media platforms to become the new vogue. From the thousands of influencers promoting activated charcoal for teeth whitening, to people expressing their admiration towards the product, charcoal has become irresistible. Many have abruptly hurried to get their hands on this magical product, but does it actually work?
It is not the first time we see a product being glamorized on the internet only to discover later the hidden side effects. Particularly with teeth whitening, It seems to be the area most susceptible to social media marketing. It started first with natural remedies and gradually progressed to the recent craze, activated charcoal. Before cracking the mystery, let us first address a few things.
How do teeth stain?
There are two main types of stains, extrinsic and intrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains are the category of stains that the public is most familiar with. It is also the category of stains that affects most people. Repeatedly exposing your teeth to dark beverages like red wine, coffee and colas, or even smoking or chewing tobacco will eventually stain your teeth. Practicing a proper oral hygiene can only do so much. Unfortunately, repetitive exposure of staining factors (dark food and drinks) will inevitably taint the brightness of your teeth.
The only sure way to prevent extrinsic stains from dimming your smile is to keep the consumption of staining foods and drinks to a minimum. This class of stains can be easily removed by whitening gels.
On the other hand, we have intrinsic stains, which do not affect as much people as extrinsic stains do. However, while they may not be as widespread, they’re definitely more complex. Intrinsic stains affect the deeper layers of the tooth and are much more difficult to deal with. Which probably speaks about their causes. With such stubborn stains, the cause is not a common habit, a beverage or a food, its usually a bit peculiar.
Intrinsic stains are caused by certain medications, dental injuries, and fluorosis. Fluorosis refers to the frequent use of fluoride particularly during childhood, which consequently leads to discoloration of the inner tooth structure.
What is the function of the enamel?
The enamel is a tough thick layer whose function is to protect the dentin. The dentin comes directly after the enamel and is the layer that needs most protection. Because the dentin covers the nerves, its damage might make the teeth more sensitive to food and drinks that are either hot or cold. So preserving the enamel is crucial, as with its loss, you are putting your teeth at risk.
Does activated charcoal work?
The short answer, yes, however once you read along you will probably reconsider using it. Alright, to start off, activated charcoal is an abrasive. Meaning the material acts like a rough object rubbing on a smooth surface, which will wear off the exterior layer. I guess you can guess where this is going, charcoal will eventually wear of your enamel. It will whiten your teeth first, but eventually, with the loss of your enamel your teeth we be at a much higher risk of yellowing that before.
so do they work? in the short term, yes. The long term? not at all, in fact; they will reverse their initial purpose.
What is a better alternative?
Seek professional help. To be honest, dentistry is not as simple that modest home remedies can do the trick for you. Even organic products will eventually wear off your enamel. The best thing is to visit a dentist and discuss together a whitening plan for you that will not harm your teeth.
Teeth whitening does not mean you have to scarifice your enamel, which is why proffessional teeth whitening is advisable. It can simulatenously whiten your teeth and preserve your enamel.
I want to know more about professional teeth whitening, what should I do?
Contact us for a free virtual consultation session with a medical specialist to know the ABC’s of professional teeth whitening. Everything you would like to know about teeth whitening we have an aswer for.
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