Posts for tag: enamel
The internet and social media are buzzing with ads and promotions about the latest miracle ingredient- activated charcoal. This black substance can be used on everything from your hair to your skin to your teeth. With so much hype, we figured it’s time to take a look and give an honest opinion on whether using activated charcoal to whiten your teeth is actually a good idea.
When my wife first asked me if she should try it on her teeth, my gut reaction was that it was way too abrasive. Luckily she listened to me. At the time, I hadn’t researched it much and there hadn’t been too many studies on its effectiveness. Looking at the data now, it seems that activated charcoal may very well be the trendy way to whiten teeth, but it’s certainly not the safest for your teeth.
First, let’s look at what it is and what it does. Activated charcoal is not new. It’s been used for medicinal purposes, such as the emergency treatment of poisoning, for years. Activated charcoal works on your teeth in the same manner it works internally in the body. Activated charcoal’s pores bind with rough parts on teeth, usually surface stains and plaque, making it easier to remove the yellowing substances. The idea is that once it has been given enough time to stick to the rough spots (stains) on your teeth, it can be removed and will take the plaque, food particles and surface stains with it. This is how the activated charcoal succeeds in whitening teeth – by getting rid of surface stains in one brushing.
At first, this sounds great, almost like the miracle product it claims to be. However, because it latches onto grittiness found on the surface of teeth, activated charcoal only works on surface stains and does not change the color of teeth that are deeply stained or naturally yellowing. Furthermore, and most important, the abrasiveness of the charcoal, combined with the brushing against the teeth’s enamel, can cause thinning and erosion of the enamel. Because enamel does not replenish itself, damage is permanent. Once enamel becomes eroded, teeth will actually begin to look more yellow as the darker inner layer, the dentin, begins to show through the tooth. So, the immediate whitening you may achieve could cause your teeth to look more discolored in time. Unfortunately, the discoloration due to eroded enamel cannot be reversed.
The ADA has published multiple articles citing that the effectiveness of activated charcoal has not been substantiated. (See links below) Given the potential long-term damage to your teeth, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry stands by the recommendations of the American Dental Association (ADA) in recommending that our patients steer clear of activated charcoal on their teeth and instead, seek products that have been endorsed with the ADA Seal of Approval, which guarantees that these products have been evaluated by the ADA for safety and effectiveness.
We encourage you to come in and speak with us about your whitening options. We can recommend safe options that suit your goals and needs without compromising the long-term health of your teeth.
As always, we encourage you to make educated choices about your child’s oral health and invite you to read more about activated charcoal and its effects.
Soda. Is it really that bad for your teeth?
The short answer is yes. Sugar in soda, combines with the bacteria in your mouth to form acid, which eats away at your teeth. And diet drinks aren’t necessarily better. They may not contain the sugar, but both regular and diet, or “Sugar-free” sodas contain their own acids which attack the teeth.
Erosion begins when the acids encounter the tooth’s enamel. This is your tooth’s protective covering. Think of it like an eggshell. Once it’s softened or eroded, there’s nothing left to protect the sensitive inside of the tooth, often leading to further damage of the next layer, the dentin, and cavities.
While drinking water is the best option, we aren’t saying that you can’t enjoy an occasional, refreshing soda. But, we are going to give you tips to help lessen the damage.
Don’t Sip All Day –
Each time you drink a sugary beverage, whether it’s soda, lemonade, fruit juice or sports drinks, the acids from the drink and those formed by the sugar and bacteria in your mouth will attack your teeth. With each sip, this attack will begin again and last for about 20 minutes. If you sip sugary drinks all day, your teeth are under constant attack. If you choose to drink a sugary drink, don’t sip it over a long period. Consume it all at once. This means that children should not be drinking sugary drinks, even fruit juice, from a sippy cup or bottle throughout the day.
Limit or Eliminate Sugary Drinks-
Water is your best option, and milk provides the calcium needed to actually strengthen your child’s teeth. While we would love to see all sugary drinks eliminated from your child’s daily diet, we realize that it may not happen immediately. If you can’t eliminate it, at least choose to limit sugary drinks to no more than one soda a day. Aside from empty calories that children don’t need, even one soda a day will do damage.
Use a Straw-
Drinking out of a straw will help to keep the damaging acids and sugars away from your teeth.
Rinse Your Mouth With Water-
Rinsing your mouth with water after drinking soda will help to wash away any excess sugars and acids and stop them from continuing to attack your teeth.
Brush, but NOT Right Away-
While it may seem smart to brush your teeth right after drinking a soda, it can actually do more harm. The teeth that have just been attacked by the acid are vulnerable and the friction from a toothbrush can actually damage the enamel. Rinse with water after drinking a soda and then brush 30-60 minutes later.
Avoid Soft Drinks and Sugary Drinks at Bedtime-
Consuming a soda before bed will allow the sugar and acid to attack your teeth all night long!
Get Regular Dental Cleanings-
Regular check-ups and exams will help to identify and monitor any problems or damage before they worsen or become painful.
Again, water is always best. But, if you are drinking soda, there are some that are “better” than others, or at least, not as bad.
Check out the table below from the Mississippi State Department of Health’s website
Acid and Sugar in Soft Drinks
We hope this information will help you and your family to make informed decisions regarding your child’s diet and oral health. As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is always available to answer your questions and discuss your child’s individual needs. Call us to schedule your appointment today (864-760-1440) and let us give you and your child Something to Smile About!