On social media
Written by Tabitha Acret, Dental Hygienist at AIRFLOW Dental Spa
Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there, scrolling through the search section of Instagram and stalking people and pages that we don’t even know. The one reoccurring theme that I’ve noticed across social media is just how perfect people look; perfect hair, perfect outfit, perfect kids and a perfect smile. Whilst I admit, I too have been guilty of comparing myself to these unattainable images, it’s important to remember there are smoke screens and editing that goes into the making of these images. When it comes to our pearly whites, it’s important to remember that a social media filter can disguise any imperfection; from skin tones to teeth discolouration. It’s important to note that most celebrities we see on social media have had either professional in-chair whitening, if not, invasive dental work such as veneers or crowns to permanently whiten their teeth past a level achievable with online whitening products.
Along with celebrities and influencers, many products are promoted to give you that ‘social media smile’ however, more often than not fail at actually doing so. The best way to have a bright and white smile is to consistently brush at least twice a day and clean in between – get flossing! On top of the above, ensure regular visits to your dental hygienist for professional cleans and stain removal.
Check whether your dental practice uses the AIRFLOW Dental Spa, a non-contact form of dental cleaning that utilises a jet of warm water, fine powder and air pressure. Gone are the days of scary dental appointments featuring scraping and prodding.
When you have red and sore gums, it can make your teeth appear yellow! By keeping your teeth and gums healthy your smile will also be brighter and whiter. If you drink coffee, tea or red wine, it’s recommended you drink water immediately afterwards to prevent staining and filter out any residue. Feeling like the above makes you want to improve your teeth colour? I recommend you consult with a registered dental professional about whitening options. The toothpaste and whitening kits you see advertised online will not achieve the level of white they are promoting, and could even damage your teeth in the process.
The at-home care product that I see advertised the most is activated charcoal toothpaste. My family and friends often message me asking if they should buy it and my answer is always no. Charcoal toothpaste is a fad. Though the advertising claims it works wonders, the scientific research details there is zero hard evidence to support any actual ‘whitening effect’. Some brands under this category are quite abrasive and may cause long-lasting damage to your teeth.
Home whitening kits generally promoted by influencers online come with some huge claims, however, they don’t actually contain any peroxide (the main ingredient for whitening purposes). Instead, sodium bicarbonate is the main ingredient in store-bought whitening kits which works to remove extrinsic (external) stains only, so it won’t actually whiten your teeth it will simply remove stains for short term results. Sodium Bicarbonate can be abrasive to the teeth if used too often, and the light element is a pure gimmick.
For a fresh and white smile, you will need to start with happy and healthy gums! Start with regular brushing and ensure you are making appointments with your dentist/hygienist to have professional cleans. The best way to actually alter the colour of the teeth is to use a professional whitening solution. Only a dental professional is licensed to sell whitening products with high enough levels of peroxide to alter the colour of your teeth. These products need to be used in a controlled environment, either in the chair or having your dentist provide custom made trays that fit your mouth only to use at home. Investing in products online means you may be buying bleach that isn’t strong enough to work, or you are buying from an illegal seller and risk chemical burns to your mouth from non-custom trays.
Instagram may influence many things in our life; where we go on holiday, the next outfit we buy, the next café we visit. But, when influencing your health, especially within the mouth, it’s so important to only promote consultations with your dental professional, seeking truthful advice and motivation for your home care routine. The best smile is a healthy smile.