|Activated Charcoal: The Future of Oral Hygiene and Dental Care|
The first impression is the last impression, goes an age-old saying. Research by prominent psychologists reveals that one of the very first things that strangers notice about a person is their smile, or more specifically, their teeth! Shining white teeth with a pearly glow are not just great for appearance. More importantly, they directly indicate oral health and dental hygiene. As you know, teeth are permanent and serve you through your entire lifetime. It is of paramount importance that you give them the necessary care and attention and prevent damage before it reaches an irreversible stage.
Over the course of the 20th century, modern technology has enabled the medical industry to progress in leaps and bounds, especially in the sector of dental care. It’s been a gradual process and for a very long time, dental care remained restricted to hospitals and dentist clinics. While skincare, bodycare and other aspects of overall health have made significant progress in terms of convenience and ease of access, the same could not be said of home dental care.
Today, however, cutting-edge tools such as electric toothbrushes, fluoride mouthwashes, and corrective mouth guards have empowered people to avail professional-grade dental care in the comfort of their homes. One of the most common yet effective home dental care techniques is teeth whitening. professional-grade dental care in the comfort of their homes. One of the most common yet effective home dental care techniques is a teeth whitening
What is teeth whitening?
It is a simple, quick, and an effective way to get rid of stains, discoloration and yellowing of teeth. Staining of the teeth is common and can be short-term or long-term. Stains that develop because of poor long-term oral hygiene such as excessive smoking, drinking, irregular brushing, and lack of flossing are much more difficult to get rid of it. These intrinsic stains are usually accompanied by discoloration and yellowing.
Teeth whitening is a short-term process that removes tough stains through the use of bleaching agents, such as hydrogen peroxide, which is an antiseptic substance. Peroxides in general are good for whitening as they are lightly corrosive and penetrate the outer layers of the teeth in order to get rid of deeper stains. In recent times, the most effective substance for improving the color and appearance of teeth, has been identified as activated charcoal.
What is Activated Charcoal?
You would be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about! After all, how is a black, hard material supposed to whiten anything? Well, activated charcoal is a little different from the charcoal used in grills and for burning. It is a fine black powder that is obtained from coconut shells, olive pits, wood shavings and other natural substances by processing them at an extremely high temperature, to activate them.
This activation is the reason for the substance’s usefulness, as the process results in a tremendous increase in the charcoal’s surface area, making it extremely absorbent and porous. It is interesting to note that activated charcoal itself is not a recent phenomenon and its porous property made it useful as an antidote to poisoning in the past! This benefit is compounded by the fact that activated charcoal is not absorbed by the body and can be disposed of by the digestive system easily.
On the microscopic level, activated charcoal has displayed a tendency to bind itself to bacteria and germs. This enables it to promote fresher breath, cleaner gums and increased oral hygiene.
How does Activated Charcoal Work?
Bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide are available in liquid form. However, activated charcoal cannot be taken and simply rubbed onto the teeth. Therefore, it is infused into toothpastes and more effectively, strips.
Teeth whitening strips are arguably the simplest and most popular whitening products on the market today. They can be applied onto the lower and upper teeth for a few minutes and removed, without the involvement of any further action such as brushing or rubbing.
Activated charcoal whitens teeth with the help of its absorbent properties, large surface area, ability to bind onto dirt and germs, and its corrosive nature. It is important to remember that activated charcoal is a natural substance and is much safer than chemicals but at the same time, one must be careful while using it.
How to Use Activated Charcoal Products?
The key to using activated charcoal is to remember that it is a substance that is designed for short-term use. The corrosive nature of the substance allows it to clean teeth and give them a healthy glow but it is also a property that can prove to be harmful, if used incorrectly.
Teeth whitening strips are meant to be used in courses that last around a week to ten days. Like most products containing activated charcoal, they are not meant to be used on a daily basis over an extended period of time. Depending on strength and effectiveness, teeth whitening strips are to be applied for 10-30 minutes per use.
Excessive and unnecessary use of teeth whitening products can be enormously detrimental to dental health in the long run. The corrosive nature of hydrogen peroxide activated charcoal and other bleaching agents can damage the hard outermost layer of the teeth, known as enamel, which is the hardest substance in the body and the primary protection for the teeth.
Using teeth whitening products for too long and too frequently can cause this protective layer to wear away, leaving teeth susceptible to damage such as cavities, chipping and more commonly, dentinal hypersensitivity, which is the term for teeth that cannot withstand extreme temperatures. Understand that teeth whitening is not a miracle that can take care of your teeth by itself. It is not an excuse for you to compromise on basic, regular oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day and flossing. Do not miss out on your dentist appointments either and be sure to inform and consult with your dentist while using home dental care products.
However, that shouldn’t deter you from making the use of these products that have revolutionized dental care, making it easier, faster, and more effective than ever before.