No one wants a stained smile, and that’s more than just an assumption. Researchers have found that individuals with whiter, brighter smiles tend to do better at job interviews and experience more positive social interactions compared to those who might not be as gifted in the smile department. No wonder teeth whitening has become such a big business.
Lots of companies and dental service providers have dove into the teeth whitening trend, offering a variety of options to help you achieve a brighter, lighter smile. But do you really need to spend on store-bought products to achieve that movie star grin?
Here we compare two of the most popular teeth whitening solutions to date – teeth whitening strips and charcoal. Which one takes the cake? Find out here.
The Science Behind Teeth Whitening Strips
Teeth whitening strips are translucent sheets usually made of polyethelyne. This elastic film of plastic is coated in peroxide – a bleaching agent similar to what you would use on your clothes or your hair. Essentially, teeth whitening strips bleach your teeth to remove stains and discoloration.
When used according to the package directions, teeth whitening strips can help you achieve a brighter whiter smile after about 7 days of use. Once you’ve completed a whitening cycle, it’s strongly recommended that you avoid using another set of whitening strips until after a few months – depending on the specific product you’ve chosen.
The changes can last anywhere between 6 months to 1 year. If you’re careful with your teeth, avoid staining food, and brush regularly with a whitening toothpaste, then you might be able to extend the results beyond just one year.
In most cases, teeth whitening strips can be safe for occasional use. Most of those who use them leverage their benefits for special events when they might need a smile boost. But because of the specific dangers that teeth whitening strips pose, experts recommend limiting their use.
What are the Dangers of Teeth Whitening Strips?
It’s important to read the labels before you make any purchases. Even when buying something as seemingly harmless as teeth whitening strips! Certain products contain an ingredient called chlorine dioxide which is similar to the substance they use to disinfect swimming pools.
What this does is it erodes the enamel – the outermost surface of the teeth – and works as an acid to reveal lighter white colors underneath the exterior of your smile. This can lead to irreversible damage that puts your teeth at risk of decay, cavities, and breakage.
Aside from that, dentists can’t vouch for the safety of teeth whitening strips in the case of pregnant and lactating women. Individuals with certain dental and oral conditions are also strongly urged to seek the advice of a dentist before trying any dental whitening strips.
The Science Behind Charcoal
Charcoal, on the other hand, is a natural substance that’s been used for a wide variety of health and home applications throughout the years. In the mid-1800s, two men were rushed to a medical facility after taking lethal doses of combinations of poison – including arsenic.
They walked out scot-free after being given charcoal which was discovered to be an absorbent substance capable of drawing toxins out of the body. Through the years, scientists have found that this unique property of charcoal also proves beneficial for other facets of health and wellness – including our teeth.
The whitening properties of charcoal begin with its texture. The grainy texture is just the right abrasiveness to scrub away at debris and layers of stains that might have accumulated throughout the years. Once it works away the contaminants on the surface of your teeth, it absorbs them.
Some studies have found that charcoal can be just as effective as most commercially sold teeth whitening products, and might be much safer for general use. Also, while it might not be related to whitening, it pays to know that charcoal also restores the pH balance of your oral cavity. It also removes harmful bacteria that could cause infections.
What Are the Dangers of Charcoal for Teeth Whitening?
As a natural substance, there aren’t a lot of dangers to using charcoal – not only on your teeth but for the rest of your body. The substance does not seep into the skin or gums. Meaning it doesn’t enter your body even if you leave it to soak. This becomes an obvious benefit if you consider the dangers of using bleach-laced whitening strips in your mouth.
If anything, the biggest threat to using charcoal would be its abrasiveness. Used too often, the texture of charcoal can tire out your enamel and make your teeth more sensitive and prone to tooth decay. Using charcoal 2-3 times a week should reduce the odds of having your enamel damaged by its texture.
In terms of cost, efficacy, safety, and sustainability, it’s easy to see that charcoal is a far more intuitive choice for teeth whitening. Offering just the same results minus the health risks and the steep price tags, charcoal can be a wonderful natural substitute for most of the whitening products you’ll find.
So before you shell out cash on that expensive whitening solution, take a moment to consider the many impressive benefits that charcoal has to offer.