Recent months have seen the rise of a range of dental hacks that promise a whiter and brighter set of teeth.
Activated charcoal is just one of many so-called tricks filling our Facebook and Instagram feeds, and it’s been gaining significant traction, being used across a range of beauty products and DIY home-remedies.
We even tried it ourselves, the results of which you can see in the hilarious video above.
Then there’s ‘oil-pulling’, which claims to withdraw certain toxins from your mouth as you swish oil around for up to 20 minutes. Another is using fruit peels to rub on your teeth to remove stains.
But do any of these things actually work?
To get to the bottom of it, Be spoke to Sydney Dentist and Philips Zoom ambassador Dr Luke Cronin to find out the truth behind these ‘hacks’.
First up, charcoal.
“Despite numerous claims there is no clinical evidence that activated charcoal is effective as a stain remover, or that it can whiten your teeth,” Luke tells Be.
“It’s also unclear if it is safe, as there are concerns that it may be too abrasive to use on your teeth and gums.”
When it comes to using fruit peels or oil pulling to get rid of stains, Luke says it’s a similar story.
“There are a limited number of clinical studies on oil pulling however, the data we do have tells us that brushing and flossing remain more effective when it comes to reducing oral plaque and bacteria,” he says.
While banana peels for example are harmless, Luke warns against using orange or lemon peels as they contain acids that can damage the tooth’s enamel.
“Brushing afterwards exacerbates the damage to the enamel as it’s already weakened by the acid. Enjoy fruit as part of a healthy diet but don’t expect them to remove stains from your teeth.”
The only trick Luke agrees does work is the simple idea of having sugar-free gum after a meal.
“It gets a dental tick for a few reasons. The chewing action stimulates saliva production that helps eliminate food particles in the mouth, neutralises acids that contribute to tooth decay, and strengthens the tooth’s enamel,” Luke says.
As you might expect, Luke recommends sticking to a professional whitening treatment instead, as it’s the most effective and the safest way to get that glowing smile you’re after.
And once you’re there, he also has some advice to keep your teeth pearly white. There’s no better time than Dental Health Week to give your oral health routine a once over.
“Invest in an electric toothbrush as they remove more plaque than a manual one,” Luke says.
He also suggests regular check-ups and cleans, and make sure to floss!
In terms of what goes in your mouth Luke also says to look at your diet to minimise foods that are high in acid, and if you’re a smoker, nicotine actually ages your smile, so it might be time to quit that habit as well.
“Make sure you’re doing all you can to achieve a smile you can be proud of,” Luke says.