I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a bright, white smile. Fortunately, there are a plethora of options when trying to get rid of stains and yellowing. Whether you’re looking for an over-the-counter product, or treatments at your dental office, you have several choices. That being said, there are some choices, many of which are found on the internet, that you might want to think twice about. Recently, one such DIY teeth whitening method was presented by a popular YouTuber, and it quickly started trending. The problem is, many dental professionals question its safety.
Mama Natural, a Youtube channel hosted by a woman named Genevieve, is “a community for natural mamas who are into natural pregnancy, birth, and beyond — and like to have some FUN along the way,” according to its YouTube description. In an effort to naturally whiten her teeth, the host demonstrated using a charcoal-derived black mixture on her teeth. After brushing for a few minutes and rinsing, she proclaimed that the product worked, and her teeth did appear whiter. And with over 1.5 million views, it seems like this method may quickly become a popular at-home whitening treatment. But medical professionals are warning against the practice, fearing that the enamel deterioration and tooth erosion could result.
While it appears that the charcoal method did result in some cosmetic success, the long-term effects may be harmful. According to a recent article from Fox News, the American Dental Association has not approved these products, and a spokesperson for the organization has said that they are concerned because its abrasiveness isn’t known at this point.
“I worry about the long-term effects of a video like this,” said Dr. Susan Maples, a Michigan-based dentist and ortho speaker. “Teeth are the only part of the ectoderm that does not replenish or heal itself — once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can color your hair, you can pierce your skin, damage your nail, shave an eyebrow — all of that comes back.”
Approved dental products seep through the enamel and into the inner layer of the tooth, or dentin, altering the tooth color. Because the effects of charcoal supplements are unknown, there is a chance that it may leave teeth stained or blotchy, and could make tooth enamel more susceptible to deterioration or erosion, leading to sensitivity and cavities.
“When you lose enamel, teeth get sensitive and darker in color because you’re close to the part of the tooth that has the depth of the color,” added Maples. “Since you can’t grow it back, the only thing you can do is cover it up with restoration.”
It is always recommended that you consult with your dentist before any dental treatments, at home or in office. Your smile is one of your best assets. Taking the risk of destroying it permanently with a trendy, untested option should be heavily considered before following through.