University of São Paulo: Turmeric, banana peel and activated charcoal are ineffective for tooth whitening, study proves

A study carried out by researchers from the USP School of Dentistry of Ribeirão Preto (Forp) provides scientific evidence that products such as turmeric, banana peel and activated charcoal, indicated on the internet as homemade options for tooth whitening, are ineffective for this purpose, in addition to cause significant damage to the teeth.

“Turmeric and banana peel can cause a certain yellowing of the color of teeth”, especially after longer use “due to the composition of these materials”, says Fernanda de Carvalho Panzeri Pires de Souza, professor at the Department of Dental Materials and Prosthodontics of Forp and supervisor of the study. Activated charcoal, when used for brushing, can cause a “very important adverse effect, which is a drastic increase in the roughness of this tooth”, which leads to its weakening, enamel wear, greater “food residue retention” and stains on the over time of use, informs the specialist.

“Before adhering to the techniques disseminated on social media, consult the opinions of qualified professionals, who, in this case, are dentists”, says Carla Roberta Oliveira Maciel

To verify the possible relationship between the duration of use of home-made materials and their results, the researchers performed a brushing simulation at the Prof. Dr. Heitor Panzeri, from Forp’s Department of Dental Materials and Prosthetics, considers the “optical and superficial properties” of tooth enamel, such as tooth color and shine, in addition to roughness. With activated charcoal, for example, experts simulated 14 days of brushing, the period of use indicated on the internet, and another 30 days. Thus, they identified intense wear of the teeth after a longer period of use of the product.

In comparison with turmeric, banana peel and activated charcoal, specialists also tested, in the same study, a dental whitening agent, prescribed only by a dentist, to be used at home. The results make it clear that none of the homemade products tested “showed a whitening effect on teeth”, assures the researcher.

guide the population
The study carried out in 2020 and 2021, entitled Efficiency of whitening and popular homemade whiteners in dental enamel , is part of the Master’s Degree by Carla Roberta Oliveira Maciel, a student of the Postgraduate Program in Oral Rehabilitation. For Carla, the importance of the research lies in “guiding the population regarding the products disseminated on social media, which often do not undergo laboratory and clinical tests that can guarantee the effectiveness and safety of use”, he says.

The researcher also cites possible “dentin hypersensitivity and increased risk of caries” caused by these products, and warns: “Before adhering to the techniques disseminated in social media, consult the opinions of qualified professionals who, in this case, are dental surgeons ”. An article on the topic should be published soon.

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