Natural versus chemical teeth whitening treatments - the facts

We’ll admit that once upon a time we were happy consumers of the chemical teeth whitening revolution - from the comfort of our own home, we applied the treatment, waited for the bleach (and other scary, artificial chemicals) to soak into our enamel, before admiring the results (while ignoring the uncomfortable, sensitive tingly feeling) on our pearly whites.

But, you can’t blame us too much - that was the 90’s, and with auto-tuning and processed chicken nuggets commonplace, the western world’s love affair with all things synthetic was still in full swing,

As we all started to understand what was in processed food and that Cher’s vocals weren’t raw talent, the gravitation back towards ‘au natural’ started taking effect, and with it a long hard look at what we were putting into and onto our bodies.

And so KOHLE set about to find a teeth whitening product that wouldn’t cause harm to our precious teeth and gums, but that still actually worked. We couldn't find anything on the market that fitted the brief - and the rest is history.

Just before we delve into the attributes of the ingredients within teeth whitening treatments, let’s talk about what causes our teeth to stain.  

As we put food and drink into our mouth a layer gradually forms over the outer enamel, creating what’s called a pellicle film. This isn’t too much of an issue; a dentist can scrape this away and brushing your teeth does the same to some extent.

The problem arises over a number of years, as the pellicle layer starts to seep into the pores of the enamel. This is when we start seeing discolouration - not harmful, but also not ideal for the selfie-generation.  

Most over-the-counter (or ‘at home’) chemical teeth whitening treatments contain carbamide or hydrogen peroxide (yes, the same stuff that bleaches your hair) in the form of gels, or polyethylene strips. The bleaching agents work by soaking into the enamel and breaking down the stains.

As with any chemical-based home treatments, there are some drawbacks to be aware of:

  • If the trays or strips do not adequately cover all the teeth, the result can be uneven
  • Irritation to the gums can occur
  • There is no professional at hand to ensure the chemicals are being applied correctly
  • The concentration of whitening agents in the product vary, so the dosage can be a guess

The moral of the story here is that not all chemical treatments are created equal, the difference in whitening agent ratios vary considerably, however according to Dental Guide Australia, 90% of patients say chemical treatments worked for them, but not on intense stains.

So, moving onto natural ways to whitening your teeth. There are arguments for the use of Apple Cider Vinegar and citrus fruits, but, for a fair comparison to synthetic chemicals, we‘re looking to the most absorbent natural substance on earth - activated charcoal.

KOHLE’s charcoal (made from Indian Coconut husks) becomes ‘activated’ through heating in an oxygen-free environment at around 1700 degrees Fahrenheit, this makes the powder extremely porous and therefore extraordinary absorbent.

When used in the form of toothpaste or mouthwash, the activated charcoal draws the substances which are causing the stains in the enamel out, making teeth whiter (which the added benefit of detoxifying the whole mouth at the same time).

The other active ingredient in KOHLE’s natural oral product is coconut oil. Oil pulling is an ancient technique which has been used to clean and whiten teeth for thousands of years, by reducing the bacteria in the mouth.

When blended the two work together to create a powerful oral treatment, which can actually reduce sensitivity, rather than cause it (we’re just reliving the memories of the tingling feeling after applying the bleach…).

You may detect our bias towards the natural treatments, as we believe the less harsh, synthetic chemicals we put into our bodies, the better. But importantly we believe it’s a personal choice.

We are not saying the chemical teeth whitening treatments don’t work  - if you get the right product they do, but what we are saying is that your teeth and gums are pretty precious and they deserve to be treated with care.

We believe this so much, we decided to make our own all-natural oral care range! And we want to share it with the world, you can find a way to keep your smile white, still enjoy the odd coffee and not cause any damage to your teeth - win-win!

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