Plateau Dental Care

What you need to know about teeth whitening

The recent viral video advertising campaigns of activated charcoal products for teeth whitening are almost unavoidable across social media platforms. Often claiming to not only whiten but also ‘detox’ your pearly whites, these products are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to ‘in tray’ at home teeth whitening.

Activated charcoal products are only one of several DIY and alternative teeth whitening options currently available. As the teeth whitening industry is largely unregulated, it is especially important to understand the risks associated with these whitening solutions and why the best place to start is a conversation with your dentist.

In terms of oral health, there are no studies on the long-term effects of using products containing activated charcoal to whiten your smile. These products are often quiet abrasive and excessive use may cause sensitivity and gum irritation. Scrubbing the teeth with an abrasive substance can damage the enamel – the hard-protective outer layer – of your teeth, often making your teeth more susceptible to staining.

Do-it-yourself kits, such as whitening strips and generic bleaching trays, generally contain peroxides as the active ingredient. Misuse of peroxide can lead to teeth and gum sensitivity as well as the aggravation of underlying dental issues. The generic kits do not compensate for an individual’s jaw and tooth shape, dental history, sensitivities, or type of discolouration.

Another increasingly popular method, is in-chair treatments in salons, beauticians, shopping centres and whitening home parties. These treatments are generally administered without any dental training, and run the risk of infections and/or excessive bleaching as well as gum and tooth sensitivity.

The risks associated with these DIY or alternative whitening solutions, can led to ongoing dental issues as well as unsatisfactory results especially as fillings, veneers and dentures do not whiten.

If you are considering whitening your smile, talk to your dentist about the best options for you. Whitening toothpastes or custom take-home bleaching trays are available to you and mean a safer treatment and often better results. Your dentist can both advise the best method for your teeth and also examine the cause behind any discolouration and staining.

Often the best way to keep your smile pearly white, is great oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups and a healthy diet.


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