From DIY whitening to the truth about charcoal and straightening, we brush away the myths alongside an exclusive reader promotion

It’s ofiical! Here we are in Australian Dental Health Week (calendar note: 6-12 August!), with the spotlight shining bright on all things brushing, nutrition and general oral health.
Whether you’re an avid flosser or nightime grinder, there seems to be a host of precautions, products and myths to keeping your 32 teeth in stellar shape. We rounded up the most-asked questions and reached out to the experts at Martin Place Dental Health to debunk the myths and draw back the curtain on everything you’ve been dying to ask.
First up, the truth about this season’s mega trend: charcoal.
“While charcoal isn’t harmful, it is abrasive, so if you overdo it it can be harmful,” says Dr Dimitrios Sigalas from Martin Place Dental Health. On an aesthetic level, Dr Sigalas says there hasn’t been any concrete proof that burshing your teeth with charlocoal actually works as a whitener. “If anything, it is useful for stain removal, not changing the actual tooth colour.”
And for a DIY whitening solution?
“You can make bicarbonate soda mix, but again it may be abrasive, stripping the enamel off your teeth. Also, like the charcoal agent, it will act as a stain removal – not change the tooth colour.” If you’re looking for a quick – and safe – way to improve the colour of your teeth, Dr Sigalas says a scale and clean to remove surface stains, in conunction with a professional whitening system that contains carbamide peroxide or hydrogen, is the your answer to pristine, pearly whites.  
From shades to straightening. Is Invisalign as effective as braces and is there any home remedy that comes close?
Dr Sigalas says that in about 95 per cent of cases, Invisalign can be just as effective as braces. The crunch? “Certain movements may not be possible with Invisalign. For example complicated movements of the larger molar teeth would most likely need braces.” 
As for DIY retainers and home remendies for those wanting to expedite the process, Dr Sigalas says unfortuntely this cannot be done effectively. “A retainer is made to fit your teeth with an impression of your teeth; this will fit your teeth perfectly not allowing for any movement.”
The facts about diet and dental health – who is the culprit?
There wasn’t a beat missed: it’s sugar. While everything you eat and drink impacts the health of your teeth and gums, sugar remains the biggest offender. Interestingly, it’s not the sugar itself that does the damage, rather it’s the bacteria that forms together and creates acids that destroy the tooth enamel (the shiny, protective outer layer).
The unsung hero? Sugar free gum plays the unlikely hero in the tale of teeth as it stimulates saliva flow which neutralises acids in the mouth. And, of course, water is critical to the health of your teeth. 
Quick fire questions:
Electric or manual brushing?
Charcoal or whitening toothpaste? Neither
Hot water or cold water to wash? Either 
Floss or mouth wash? Floss
To celebrate Australian Dental Health Week, Martin Place Dental Health is offering readers the ‘New Patient Special’ for $195.00 per person, or health fund only. This means there’s no gap to pay and you’ll save big! (Normally valued at $465.00). This includes:
  • Check up
  • Scale and Clean
  • Fluoride
  • OPG - Full mouth x-ray
  • Bitewings - x-rays for left/right
  • Treatment Plan 
Martin Place Dental Health
19-29 Martin Place, Sydney
02 9232 3866