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Natural “do it yourself” alternatives for teeth whitening have been a trend over the past 5 years to achieve that ideal smile we all strive for. Consumers spend too much money per year testing these products with hopes of finding that perfect over the counter product we all saw trending on social media such as brushing with activated charcoal and coconut oil pulling to remove stains. Unconventional teeth whitening made popular by social media shows little signs of fading, and your dentists are not smiling over these trends.
The best advice any dentist can share with you is that aggressive teeth whitening can cause increased tooth sensitivity and other dental problems. The qualities in “natural” teeth whiteners is a concern for dentists and orthodontists with fears of damaging the tooth enamel. Not all dentist recommend using activated charcoal such as Dr. Timothy Chase told HuffPost during an interview, “There has not been a single study done that shows that using charcoal products for oral health care does anything good for your teeth at all, I recommend we use what’s been proven to work.” Brushing with a gritty, tar-black substance could be detrimental especially for those with predisposing conditions. Every oral health product should be used with caution and follow instructions per individual needs. What you see on social media is a generalization of instructions that don’t pertain to custom scenarios. Not to mention, everyone has different sensitivity levels and we need to be more cautious.
What people need to realize is that we don’t get a second chance when it comes to oral health, especially when addressing tooth enamel. Once it’s gone, it’s for good and there is no product out on the market to help bring enamel back. Enamel protects the teeth and once it’s rubbed off, you’re in trouble. One great example is for those who already have thinned enamel now rely on the hard layer beneath enamel called dentin. Dentin can absorb color, meaning those of you experimenting with “natural” teeth whitening alternatives are now at risk of having dark spots, especially by using charcoal.
If you are curious about a trending product or DIY technique when it comes to your oral health, be honest with your dentist and have a discussion. You dentist is only concerned with helping you maintain a healthy mouth backed up by science, true and tested multiples times. If you have already tried a trending method and you show signs of discomfort, tell the truth and your dentist will do their best and help guide you through the next steps.