Teeth Whitening
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You can consider professional teeth whitening a financial investment. Like Botox and lasers, this cosmetic procedure isn’t usually covered under insurance, and therefore, the quest to pearly whites can cost you a pretty penny, or around $600. At-home versions are definitely less expensive than what you’d get from your dentist in an office, try $40, but they require regular maintenance. There is, however, another and much cheaper option. Curaprox, an oral care brand has just launched a new teeth whitening chewing gum, and it retails for $7 online. So could it be the best way to whiten your teeth on a budget? At the very least, it seems like a decent supplement.

For the record, teeth-whitening gum isn’t exactly a new invention—SuperSmile has been making one for a few years now. But Curaprox is changing the game by making these gum chews with activated charcoal, which is an ingredient commonly used in toothpaste to remove stains and impurities, and freshen breath.

Teeth Whitening
Credit: Curaprox

"Charcoal being naturally very basic on the Ph scale is given an ionic charge of oxygen, which then attracts the stains that are often caused by tannic acids,” explains Stacy Atnip, a registered dental hygienist. She says that the stains are the pulled off thanks to a “magnetic-like” attraction of the charcoal.

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The same thing happens, the brand claims, with the charcoal gum. "The gum releases the activated charcoal which can bind up the tanic acid before it can attach to the tooth. So by chewing shortly after drinking wine, it prevents the stain from occurring. It also contains hydroxyapatite which helps to remineralize sensitive teeth by filling in the microscopic ‘tubules' that are often opened by over brushing, improper brushing, and very acidic food/drinks. The hydroxyapatite will help to repair theses areas and can cause a whitening affect. The gum also contains optic whiteners that give a visible brightness from chewing the gum immediately," Atnip continues.

Twelve pieces come in a pack, and Atnip says you can chew it multiple times a day. "It is a great way to freshen breath and clean your teeth when you are unable to brush your teeth, like after lunch or before you are walking into a meeting and you want to brighten your smile and freshen your breath."

While it’s cheaper than a pack of white strips, don’t think for a second chewing gum replaces brushing your teeth. For an overall whiter smile, Atnip says to brush a minimum of twice daily with a soft tooth brush and toothpaste, and to clean in-between your teeth. “Since most Americans are reluctant to floss daily with a proper flossing technique—this step is often skipped. A great and often more effective substitute is an interdental brush. It’s like a tiny toothbrush that goes between your teeth. It's very easy to use and highly effective,” she says.

Finally, make sure to actually visit your dentist on a regular basis for x-rays and cleanings. That means not canceling next Tuesday’s appointment.