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How effective are activated charcoal teeth whitening products?

July 10, 2022

Filed under: General Dentistry — fava @ 12:00 am

The Story Behind the Trend

This recent trend of using activated charcoal toothpaste and other dental products for teeth whitening is all over social media.

What is Activated Charcoal?

This is a fine-grained powder that is a form of carbon, made by treating it under extreme heat. The surface of its particles becomes porous.

Why has it Become So Popular?

A lot of people swear by the ability of activated charcoal to eliminate tooth stains, whitening of teeth, and freshening of breath. Even celebrities are seen endorsing charcoal-infused dental products, lending to its increasing popularity.

What is it made of?

Typically, it’s made from wood, coconut shells, and other natural substances. Many charcoal toothpaste brands don’t have fluoride that helps keep the enamel strong.

Are Activated Charcoal Oral Care Products Effective?

What are the Claims?

The dental products containing activated charcoal claim to be a healthy alternative to whitening teeth. However, there is no scientific evidence to back the benefits of such products to the teeth.

The Truth

Activated charcoal dental products only remove the surface (extrinsic) stains on your teeth. These include stains caused by coffee, tea, tobacco, wine, and dark-colored foods and drinks.

Disadvantages

The deeper, intrinsic stains within the tooth don’t get removed by activated charcoal-containing products. These could be stains resulting from trauma, weak enamel, or certain medications.

Additionally, everyday use of charcoal products has an abrasive effect on your teeth, wearing down the enamel. Apart from increasing teeth sensitivity, this also makes your teeth appear more yellow.

Best Way to Safely Whiten Your Teeth

A good and safe alternative to activated charcoal products is using a professional at-home whitening kit. With Torbram Dental’s home whitening kit ‘Opalescence’, you’ll have a bright, white smile as quickly as possible. This would give the appearance of any similar treatment in cosmetic dentistry.

Opalescence is available in a variety of carbamide peroxide concentrations (15-35%), with potassium nitrate and fluoride for whitening even the most difficult stains.

Steps

By following these steps, you can ensure maximum benefit from Opalescence:

1. Start with clean teeth; brush and floss before applying the whitening trays.

2. Dispense a small drop of whitening product on the whitening trays in each tooth’s space. Try and avoid getting the gel on the gums; if it does, wipe away the excess product using a cotton swab for minimizing irritation of the gums.

3. The whitening process takes about 10-14 days. Once the initial process has been completed, the patient can do touch-ups safely once every six months.

For best results, Opalescence tooth whitening systems are to be worn overnight. However, if you aren’t comfortable with overnight use, they could also be worn 2-4 hours twice a day.

The left-over product should be stored in a cool, dry place and may be used for touch-ups once every six months.

Side Effects

Commonly associated with tooth whitening is the side effect of sensitivity. While all patients might not experience this, if you do, it would be best to minimize the use of the whitening trays. For the sensitivity to subside, using Sensodyne F toothpaste or a home fluoride rinse in the homecare routine will benefit.

During the tooth whitening process, it’s suggested to minimize the consumption of dark-colored foods and drinks. These could re-stain the teeth during and after the whitening process.

It would be wise to consult with your dentist before you use any teeth whitening or oral care products, as they’ll be able to suggest what’ll work based on your teeth’s conditions.

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