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Does Activated Charcoal Really Mega-Uber Whiten Your Teeth?

Have you heard about the activated charcoal teeth whitening craze? It is rapidly becoming one of the most popular ways to whiten teeth, but why? It seem counterintuitive, how can rubbing a black powder over your pearly whites actually take away stains instead of leaving them black as coal? People are often shocked when they first see activated charcoal being used in this way, but the truth is it has been a component of dental care for a lot longer than you think. Let’s take a closer look at activated charcoal, how it might whiten your teeth, and everything else you need to know about this huge beauty trend.

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Don’t just run out and get regular charcoal to start brushing with, activated charcoal is special and you need to get this variety to potentially reap the whitening benefits. According to WebMD, activated charcoal is formed after regular charcoal’s surface area is expanded through a combination of increased heat and gas or some other activating agent. These complex chemical changes give you what is popularly known as activated charcoal.

The History Behind Activated Charcoal and Teeth Whitening

Charcoal has been significant for centuries, and has been used for everything from treating water to combatting toxic poisonings. In fact, early versions of toothpaste including the one that the Romans used, often called for ground charcoal as one of the ingredients. While these uses were not specific to teeth whitening, they do prove that charcoal has been important to many societies for a very long time. It isn’t surprising that people are still discovering new uses for it.

How Do People Whiten with Activated Charcoal?

Whitening with activated charcoal looks a little strange, which is probably why it has gotten so much attention on the web recently. You’ve probably scrolled through one of your social feeds and noticed a video of someone brushing their teeth with something black. That’s how it looks when you brush with activated charcoal, like you are using a black toothpaste. First, obtain activated charcoal (not regular) that will be safe for you to brush your teeth with to get them white. Then, get a special toothbrush that is just for your charcoal brushing. Mix the powder with some water to make a paste, and put the paste on the brush. Then, brush the paste on your teeth for a few minutes (typically just two or three). Now comes a very important part, spit out the charcoal carefully. You don’t want to get it all over your outfit or bathroom. Then, rinse out your mouth with water and spit it out. Repeat the rinse and spit steps several times until you do not see any more charcoal powder on your teeth, gums, or anywhere else in your mouth. Otherwise it might migrate back to your teeth making your smile look unappealing and black.

The Dentist Verdict on Activated Charcoal for Whitening

Dentist Joseph Banker told Prevention that it did look like it had improved the whiteness of his teeth, but he also noted it wasn’t the neatest option. Blogger xoJane looked into the reason behind why activated charcoal seems to have a whitening effect, and her doctor Dr. Jessica Emery said it’s because the activated charcoal is attracted to tannins. Tannins are those things that lurk in your favorite dark colored drinks and leave behind ugly stains on your teeth. So if you are seeing lots of tannin stains from drinking red wine or something similar, it stands to reason that activated charcoal brushing might be able to help.

Alternative to Whitening with Activated Charcoal Powder

Not convinced that activated charcoal is right for you? Whitening strips that contain activated charcoal are an excellent alternative. For one thing, they are not nearly as messy as brushing with charcoal. The powder can get everywhere, not to mention how dark it is on your teeth while you use it. You have to be really careful and rinse thoroughly when you use activated charcoal to whiten your teeth. Otherwise you risk flashing people a smile that’s covered in black paste, which pretty much defeats the purpose of whitening.

Whitening your teeth with activated charcoal is a natural way to get rid of some of the unsightly surface stains that might be lingering on your teeth. It is a trade-off, because the process can be a bit messy and has varying results depending on the person and how stained their teeth look when they start the process. Talk to your dentist and get their take on using activated charcoal in your whitening routine. It never hurts to ask!

Learn more about what your smile says about you and your health.  

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OTC Whitening Kits and Dentist Teeth Whitening: What’s the Difference?

Image: Oasisdentalcare

When you smile, do you like what you see? Everyone wants to have stunningly white teeth, but for some of us it can be tougher to achieve that perfect smile. Thankfully, there is help out there in the form of teeth whitening products and treatments. Turning your dull, stained, or yellow teeth into a brilliant shade of white can be just a few treatments away!

Looking into the various types teeth whitening products available on the market can be a little overwhelming. There are tons of options out there, and sometimes the choices can all blend together. One especially big distinction that people want to understand is what the difference is between over the counter teeth whitening kits, compared to teeth whitening by a dental professional.

What Is Professional Dental Whitening?

Image: kreativedentalclinic

When you go to the dentist, you can ask if the office provides professional whitening treatments. These treatments involve the dentist painting a bleaching gel on your teeth. As the Colgate Oral Care Center explains, this gel is pretty powerful, “in-office whitening procedures are carefully monitored and contain a higher concentration of bleaching gel.” The bleach is left on for a specific amount of time, and much like the kits, a light may be used to help increase the whitening results you see. A professional whitening session typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes depending on the type of whitening agent used. 

What Are Over the Counter Whitening Kits?

There is a wide range of tooth whitening products available both online and in your local pharmacy. One type that has been growing in popularity is teeth whitening kits. These kits typically come with special trays that will fit snugly over your teeth. When you open the kit, you will find the trays, a specific type of whitening gel, and in some cases a portable LED light. The purpose of the light is to increase the whitening power by activating the bleaching ingredients within the whitening gel. However, some kits do not use the light method, and rely on the gel to complete the whitening.

Each kit comes with specific instructions, but you will typically need to place a designated amount of gel in each tray. You will then place the tray over your teeth to hold the gel closely against each tooth and ensure they all are exposed to the whitening agents. You will generally need to wear the trays for a specific amount of time (usually under an hour) for a few days to a few weeks in order to see the full results.

Which Type Is Right for Me?

First, it is important to talk to your dentist. They will be able to give you helpful advice about which products will work best while keeping your teeth nice and healthy. Your dentist can also check your teeth to make sure they are in good shape and will be good candidates for teeth whitening.

Beyond a dental consultation, the choice of which type of whitening you get is up to you. There are a few important factors you should consider when deciding which type of treatment to get:

  1. How much do you want to spend? This is an important question, because teeth whitening can vary greatly. Kits can range from close to $100 and up, while most professional in-office dental treatments cost around $650.
  2. How discolored are your teeth? Check out your current smile, is it just a bit dull or does it need a lot of work? The type of treatment you choose depends heavily on how much improvement you want to see. If you just want your teeth to be a few shades lighter, you might want to do a less intense treatment. If your teeth are extremely stained or discolored, you should probably consider a professional whitening treatment as the whitening agents are more aggressive. Professional treatments are especially popular with people who drink red wine or coffee, and people who smoke because their teeth are often much more stained.
  3. Where do you want to receive your treatment? Some people aren’t big fans of going to the dentist, and would much prefer to do their treatments at home. Other people find it tough to remember to use the whitening kit consistently, and they prefer to go to the dentist and get it done quickly.

There are people who absolutely love both teeth whitening methods. It is up to you to do your research and consider your options when choosing which type of teeth whitening you want to use.  We recommend you consider how safe it is to whiten your teeth and the cost of teeth whitening when making your decision.

Please do note that some people report an increase in tooth sensitivity after treatments, so it is extremely important to make sure your teeth are very healthy when you start. Whichever whitening method you choose, you can look forward to a brighter smile in your future!

 

 

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At-Home Guide to Teeth Whitening

Want amazing, white teeth? You might think you need a celebrity dentist or tons of professional treatments to whiten your teeth. Guess what? You don’t even have to leave your home to whiten your teeth. Follow this quick guide for ways to whiten your teeth in the comfort of your own home and you will have a brilliant smile in no time!

Your diet has a lot to do with how white your teeth look

 

  • Acidic foods can be bad for teeth - that morning glass of orange juice might be delicious, however, the acid in it might wear away the enamel on your teeth which can dull them. Acidic foods of all kinds take away the protective coating on your teeth, which is naturally a shade of off-white or white depending on the person. The more acidic foods you eat and drink, the faster the enamel will wear away.
  • Dark drinks can leave behind stains – coffee and tea are great ways to get a bit of caffeine or relax and unwind. Sadly, they are not great ways to keep your teeth white. Dark drinks can leave behind some pretty bad stains on your teeth. Some teas are naturally lighter, like white tea which is harvested earlier in the growing season and dried before the leaves get the chance to oxidize. Drinking a lighter colored tea can help reduce the chance you will want to hide your smile. Otherwise, grab a straw or switch to water when you need something to quench your thirst. Otherwise, you’ll risk discoloring your teeth.
  • Heavily pigmented foods can discolor your teeth – some foods have the same staining properties as drinks. Have you ever checked out your smile after eating a piece of blueberry pie? Those blueberry stains are pretty prominent, right? They probably take a while for you to brush away as well. Even after they seem less noticeable, dark foods with lots of pigments can leave their mark. Eating these over time will create stains and discoloration that will dull your smile.

You can get some whitening help

Whitening your teeth at home is pretty easy these days. There are tons of whitening products out there that you can use to get the smile you want. Some whitening methods are even natural, giving you the option of using items you might already have at home to whiten your teeth. Here are some great whitening methods you can do in your own home:

  • Use whitening strips – peel these little strips off of their plastic backing and place them snugly over your teeth. The side that goes against your teeth has safe but powerful bleaching agents that will remove the stains sitting on top of your teeth. Once the time is up (each whitening strip package tells you how long to leave them on) just peel the strips off of your upper and lower teeth and throw them away.
  • Get a whitening kit – people love these kits because the whitening gel is placed in trays that fit over your teeth ensuring that the formula reaches all of your teeth. Some gel kits also come with a mini lamp that helps to activate the whitening ingredients in the formula. Once the time is up, take off the trays and follow the kit’s instructions for how long you need to wait until your next treatment.
  • Try coconut oil pulling – pulling is a fancy way of saying you move the oil around your mouth so that it coats your teeth. Since coconut oil is natural, you will not be using any bleaching agents to whiten your teeth. Move the oil across and around your teeth for a few minutes. Once you are done, spit the oil out. A lot of people use coconut oil to get healthier mouths and whiter teeth.
  • Use a whitening toothpaste – whiten your teeth while you brush! A lot of toothpaste brands are adding extra whitening power to their normal formulas. That way, customers can get a brighter smile while they get healthier teeth. You do not need to do anything special to get the benefits of whitening toothpaste. Just grab your toothbrush and put on the whitening toothpaste. Brush normally, and spit out the excess toothpaste. A lot of people use whitening toothpastes every day to make sure they have a stunning smile without needing to do any extra work.

It is so simple to get a whiter smile without needing to leave home. Once you start paying more attention to your diet and incorporating a whitening method into your routine, you should start to see results. Check with your dentist and get their advice on your home whitening routine. They will probably have a favorite method or advice to help boost the power of your pearly whites. No matter which method you choose, these are the top 10 benefits of having whiter teeth.  No more excuses, whitening your teeth is as easy as 1,2,3!

 

 

 

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Teeth and Anti-aging: How Whitening Your Teeth Can Knock the Years Off

Everybody wants to appear young for as long as possible. Since The Fountain of Youth has yet to be found, we try a multitude of different ways to prevent, maintain, or reverse signs of aging. These ways can include, but aren’t limited to, plastic surgery, dermatological procedures, Botox, permanent makeup, weight loss programs, natural remedies, and much more.

If you are trying these methods or any others, it’s possible that you haven’t addressed one of the most important aspects of looking – and feeling – younger: your pearly whites! Your teeth are an important part of how people perceive you, and keeping them white can knock the years off!

Why is having white teeth important?

Studies show that there are many powerful benefits to having a white smile. According to Dr. Dacher Keltner, Professor of Psychology at University of California Berkeley, your smile is “visible from 200 feet, it is the intense focus of what other people look at, and a sign of our warmth, confidence, and health.” It is assumed upon meeting or interacting that individuals with whiter teeth are more successful in many parts of their lives as well as having good personal hygiene and are in great health.

Because of this perception, having white teeth is a great help towards successful interpersonal interactions. Some aspects of interpersonal interaction that white teeth can help with are:

  • Romantic interaction – Those with whiter teeth have a higher chance of being perceived in a positive way during romantic interactions. Impressions of success, confidence, health, and youth are important during romantic interactions, and white teeth can portray all of these things to the person of interest.

[Check out: Smile Your Way to that Hot Date]

  • Workplace interaction – You may not think that attractiveness holds importance in the workplace, but it does. Others respond better to people that are more confident and visually appealing. It is human nature to believe that these are signs of a successful person, and your colleagues will be more inclined to trust you and have positive interactions with you. For this reason, white teeth can be an important aspect of how you are perceived in the workplace!

[Check out: Do Good Teeth Make You More Employable?]

  • First impressions - We all know that while you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, first impressions do happen each and every single day. Although what you look like surely doesn’t say everything about you, it can send signals to others while they are trying to perceive who you are for the first time. Their first impression of you is all they have to go on of at first! For this reason, white smiles can provide a strong boost to your initial interactions with others.

[Check out: What Does Your Smile Say About You?]

How can white teeth make you look younger?


Image: oversixty.com

White teeth give you more confidence. Confidence is the key to presenting your best self to others. Having white teeth means you will hide your smile less and show off those pearly whites more! No more days of being hesitant to laugh at a joke or crack a huge smile and no more hiding your mouth with your hand when you speak. Having whiter teeth will promote a much more positive interpersonal communication experience between you and those that you interact with.

White teeth signal youth. In another study, conducted by Oral B, two thousand British people were asked to estimate the age of a model in a photo. The first photo showed a woman with a radiant smile, the other the same woman with discolored teeth. On average, the doctored image of model was estimated to be thirteen years older with an age of 44 years, compared to the woman with whiter teeth. This is a large disparity between her true age and the age that people assumed she was when they looked at the picture with yellowed, uncared for teeth. If you could take up to 13 years off of your appearance with the painless act of teeth whitening, would you? Compared to many other ways that people try to look younger, teeth whitening is a much less painful and much more cost effective choice.

White teeth signal health. It is common knowledge that the younger you are, the healthier you usually are. Our bodies naturally deteriorate over time. Therefore, when others see signs of health such as wrinkle free skin, a full head of hair, or white teeth for example, they will associate that with somebody’s level of health. These positive signs of health show people you are interacting with that you are maintaining your body and its functions properly. The more positive they are, the younger they will think you are.

In conclusion, having white teeth can have a great anti-aging effect on your appearance. If you are looking to get whiter teeth start with a Pearly Whites kit and become a younger looking version of yourself today!

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How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost in the US?

 

If you’re looking to whiten your smile and let the new you shine, the question you’re probably most curious about is the cost. Depending on your situation, there are a number of different routes you could take towards having a brighter smile. Each option varies in overall price and affordability. Luckily for you, we’ve listed them all for you here. No matter your situation, you can find the right whitening process that fits your budget and grants your wish for dramatically whiter teeth.

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

Type of Teeth Whitening Cost
In-Office Teeth Whitening $650 on average
Dentist Take Home Trays $400 on average
At-Home Teeth Whitening Products $100 or less
DIY Natural Whitening Methods* $10 - $20

*Note that user experience with Natural Whitening Methods varies greatly, and this article does not endorse any untested methods.

 

Laser Teeth Whitening

 

Image: nw1dentalcare

 One of the most innovative methods for teeth whitening is becoming more and more popular with average Americans. Laser whitening is a quick and easy option without the hassle of strips, trays, or at-home application. However, most dental insurance programs do not offer coverage for laser whitening procedures. Since laser whitening is generally the most expensive method available, it can be a pricey procedure. Typically, the average cost of laser whitening in the U.S. is close to $1,500. If you’re interested in this option, check with your insurance provider or dental professional. If you aren’t covered for laser whitening, there may be a payment plan available to you to help cover the cost of the laser treatment.

In-Office Professional Dental Whitening

 

Image: goehringdental

 The next most expensive option is to visit your dentist for a traditional, in-office whitening. This is an easy procedure that can sometimes be covered by dental insurance when it qualifies as preventative care for larger issues. The price will vary, but you can expect to spend the same or slightly less than you would on an advanced laser procedure. You might spend anywhere from $200 - $1,000 depending on your dentist. Another option is to make the transition to a new dentist for your whitening and cleaning. Oftentimes, new dental offices or offices looking for new clients will offer free or reduced whitening to new sign on customers. If you’re looking to change your dentist, or you’ve recently moved, try looking into what is being offered to new clients from dental offices in your area.

Whitening Trays

This is more of a midway option between the professional and at-home treatments because this procedure can be done in both places. Whether you are having a dental professional whiten your teeth in an afternoon, or using the trays at home over the period of a month or two, this method is an effective way to bring the brilliance back to your smile. The price can range from $100 to $500 depending on whether you use custom trays from your dentist or an at-home method. Either way, whitening trays are a bit more involved than using strips or pens. However, if your stains require an extra boost, this method is a strong contender in terms of effectiveness on stubborn stains and cost. Your dentist can help you decide if you should go with a custom tray treatment or try an at-home variation.

At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits

 

If you’re uneasy about visiting the dentist or your insurance or budget is an inhibiting factor, then home treatments might be for you. Popular items include home whitening kits, whitening strips and pens that let you apply the whitening agent in the comfort of your own home. The downside being that instead of a one-day appointment, these kits will often take you through a regimen of whitening over time. However, if you’re looking to cut cost and you’re not in a hurry, at-home whitening is a simple process that produces real results.

The Pearly Whites range costs from just $29 and can be done with no special tools or prior experience. The advantages being that you do the whitening on your own time and with budget friendly materials. Some dentists believe that at-home teeth whitening can actually be more effective on certain stains than an in-office procedure. You should consult with you dentist to see if this low cost option is right for you.

DIY Natural Whitening Methods

Image: thecoconutmama.com

Some people with sensitive teeth or gums respond poorly to the whitening agents contained in most in-office and at-home teeth whitening procedures. If you’re worried about the cost or the chemicals of the more advanced methods, there are a few natural ways to whiten your teeth as well. Besides simply cutting down on stain producing foods like coffee, wine, and soda; there are certain foods and natural items that can help. Coconut oil mouth rinses and brushing with baking soda are options some believe help fight stains and produce stronger enamel. Of course, you should be careful when trying any at home remedy and be sure to consult with a doctor, dentist, or natural health professional before proceeding. Natural options are likely to be the cheapest option available ($10 - $20), but may require more repeat usages than at-home whitening kits, if they work at all.

The teeth whitening solution you choose is completely up to you, and will probably depend on the budget you have as well how discolored your teeth actually are. Take the time to decide which option is best for your individual needs, and don’t forget to consult your dentist, especially if you have any underlying oral health issues or sensitivity.

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