Everyone wishes to have a mouthful of white teeth and fresh breath to show off when we have a good laugh. It makes us feel more confident. However not everyone is born with white teeth as some teeth can be naturally yellowish in colour. Certain practices such as the beverage we drink (too much wine, coffee and tea can stain the teeth yellow), poor dental hygiene and smoking (nicotine can stain the teeth and fingers!) can stain the teeth. Teeth also gets stained over the years as we age.
How do we maintain that white teeth?
Make sure we have good dental care by brushing with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day, and flossing daily to remove food residues to avoid plaque buildup. I would like to bust a myth here-- brushing straight after food is NOT the way to go. Wait at least 30minutes especially after acidic food or drinks as brushing with acid can remove the enamel, hence damaging the teeth and make them appear more yellowish. Including food such as apples, pears, celery, carrots, cauliflower and cucumbers into the diet to clean the teeth and eliminate bacterial load in the mouth. Taking your favourite beverage using a straw may also help.
If these are not enough, there are 3 main ways to whiten your teeth, namely home whitening treatment, professional teeth whitening and laser whitening. Treatment options in the dental clinic may include scaling/professional cleaning, bleaching and veneers/bonding for damaged teeth.
Teeth stains can be divided into extrinsic (attached to the enamel), intrinsic (stained dentine which is underneath the enamel), ageing (causing thinner enamel and darker dentine due to wear and tear). So you can imagine most home treatment options will only work for extrinsic stains. Options include whitening toothpaste, pen, gel and strip which commonly contain peroxide, when used may cause teeth sensitivity, sore throat and gum discomfort that is usually self limiting.
Recent trend on social media boasts charcoal teeth whitening with people brushing their teeth using activated charcoal to regain that white teeth. Activated charcoal is usually derived from coconut shells, bone char, peat, petroleum coke, and coal. It’s created by heating up charcoal using a gas that creates large pores in the mineral which trap chemicals for medicinal use. Activated charcoal is odourless and tasteless but black. The pores bind to the rough parts on the teeth, particularly the food particles, plaque and stains, with the help of gentle brushing, remove extrinsic stains.
But be careful, not every charcoal whitening method is safe and effective. Certain activated charcoal is simply too abrasive and can erode the enamel, causing dentine to be exposed, teeth sensitivity and irreversible damage to the teeth. Avoid charcoal whitening if there is a wound, cut or abrasion in the mouth due to the abrasiveness. Certain products in the market also contains bentonite clay which is high in lead. However it is safe for ingestion and is in fact used to reduce bloatedness and diarrhoea. There is a possibility some people may have mild irritation on the skin or eyes when exposed to activated charcoal-- symptoms should resolve with rinsing.
In fact I have tried Whitekish Magic Charcoal by JamuMall for the past 2 weeks. It contains activated charcoal made from coconut shell. Importantly Whitekish is approved by the Ministry of Health as a beauty product. Laboratory testing shows that Whitekish does not contain heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, nor mould and bacteria.
How I use Whitekish?
1. Mix some activated charcoal with water into a thick paste.
2. Apply the paste directly into the teeth.
3. Avoid rubbing the paste onto the teeth as it can be too abrasive.
4. Leave the paste on for 3 minutes.
5. Thoroughly rinse the mouth.
6. Brush gently using soft bristle toothbrush (do not be too harsh to avoid removing the enamel)
7. Use once a day in the first week then twice a week afterwards.
The label says brush using Whitekish twice a day during the first week and twice a week afterwards. For me, I prefer the method above as my teeth are already sensitive to start with. Other times I will recommend using a fluoridated toothpaste as Whitekish does not contain fluoride which is important for strong teeth, can prevent or even reverse dental decay. Fluoride (from water or toothpaste), when mixed in the calcium and phosphate in our saliva, forms fluoroapatite, which is the key defense against cavities.
What does Dr Yingzangel think?
My teeth are naturally yellowish and I am embarrassed. I have tried many whitening products. Honestly none worked well until I tried Whitekish.
This is my before and after photos just after a single use.
Whitekish is an affordable, safe and effective way to remove extrinsic stains on our teeth, as well as eliminating mouth odour. However, it is important to use it in moderation following the advice above to avoid eroding the enamel.
Disclaimer: the opinion given is merely a personal experience and does not constitute formal medical advice. Please seek your medical professional's advice before any complementary therapy. Always ask for certified professionals before proceeding with treatment and stop if discomfort or side effect ensues.