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Dentists issue warnings about using charcoal to whiten teeth

shutterstock_308947793As more of us strive to achieve the perfect Hollywood smile, we’re always eager to try the latest teeth whitening trends.

One of the most popular methods to surface this year involves smearing a charcoal-derived black mixture on the teeth. As charcoal is already used in a number of other beauty products, few of us had reason to question the safety of doing this.

Whilst many beauty bloggers are praising the benefits of charcoal as a tooth whitening agent, the medical industry is not promoting or approving the method.

Medical professionals are in fact warning that the latest DIY teeth whitening trend should be avoided at all costs. Dentists are urging people to think twice before trying it because charcoal may in fact lead to enamel deterioration and tooth erosion.

The American Dental Association is keen to assert that they have not evaluated or approved any charcoal teeth whitening products. A spokesperson for the organisation has said however that the product is concerning because at the moment, its abrasiveness isn’t known.

Another concern raised by many dentists is that fact that our teeth are the only part of the ectoderm which can’t replenish or heal themselves. Whereas our hair grows back, our skin can heal from a piercing and a broken nail will grow back, the same theory does not apply to our teeth. Once our teeth are gone, they are gone and we therefore need to take better care of them and think twice about what we’re exposing them to.

As well as potentially suffering tooth and enamel erosion, dentists are also warning that using charcoal products which haven’t been approved could leave teeth stained or blotchy. Because of the damage caused to the tooth enamel, it also leaves you more susceptible to sensitivity and cavities.

shutterstock_134235938 Signs of tooth and enamel deterioration
If you’re worried that you could be suffering from tooth or enamel erosion, look out for the following signs:

• Sensitive teeth
• Your teeth have become darker in colour or are yellow
• Cracks or chips start to appear. The edges of the teeth may also become more rough, irregular and jagged
• Pain when eating hot, cold or sweet foods
• Cupping – indentations appear on the surface of the teeth

Safe teeth whitening
Teeth whitening is typically a very safe procedure when done correctly. If you’re using a DIY product, it’s crucial to ensure that the ingredients have been formally tested and approved. Don’t automatically assume that just because you have bought something from a reputable High Street shop that it’s perfectly safe either. The best thing you can do is show any products you plan to use to your dentist before you do anything. They will be able to tell you whether or not it’s safe for your teeth.

Whilst DIY kits are a cheaper and quicker way of brightening your teeth, they cannot get the same results that your dentist can. A dentist can use stronger products which are more effective and the results will last much longer. Crucially, they also know exactly what they’re doing and would never use products which haven’t been rigorously tested.


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