Almost everyone wants whiter teeth, but it seems like life is filled with things to cause stains. Coffee, tea, chocolate, and wine all make life enjoyable but also stain teeth. Because so many people enjoy these foods and drinks, many try to find ways to offset their dental darkening effects. You’ve probably noticed a lot of information on the internet with tips for whitening your teeth at home with ingredients you already have. Is DIY teeth whitening safe using household ingredients instead of seeing the dentist? At Southview Cosmetic Dentistry, we’ve compiled this guide about everything you need to know before choosing DIY teeth whitening.
Of course, you want to know whether the DIY solutions you see online are safe, but why even bother trying them if they don’t have any scientific evidence to back up their effectiveness?
Most home teeth whitening solutions are not nearly as effective as over-the-counter whitening kits with peroxide or dentist-provided whitening. Some DIY tricks can even hurt your teeth. Below are some popular ones to avoid:
Eating strawberries and fruit is good for your overall health. Plus, when you have a healthy diet, your teeth and gums have the nutrients they need to be healthy. So, eating fruits such as strawberries, oranges, and grapes is a good practice, especially when you substitute them for sticky, sweeter treats. But can rubbing your teeth with strawberries really give you a whiter smile?
The answer, of course, is no. Strawberries and many other fruits have acids, such as citric acid, in them. Acids negatively impact your smile because they wear away your naturally beautiful enamel.
Sometimes these fruity remedies will require you to mix fruit juice, such as lemon juice, with baking soda. Again, the acid from the lemon juice is harmful to your enamel. Plus, the abrasiveness of baking soda can also rub off your enamel. This in turn will do the opposite of whitening since the layer of your tooth below enamel is often much darker.
Swishing coconut oil around your mouth and between your teeth is another purported whitening remedy. There is no evidence that oil pulling will help brighten your smile. You are at increased risk of lipoid pneumonia. Researchers have documented cases of people doing oil pulling and inhaling small amounts of the oil, leading to cough and infection in the lungs. Other side effects may include an upset stomach or diarrhea.
Activated charcoal is an abrasive substance in some commercial toothpaste types today. Though a trendy product, can you create your own DIY whitening with it? A study found that using charcoal and salt as toothpaste causes severe abrasions on the mouth’s soft tissues and excessive wear on the teeth, making it a dangerous DIY solution.
Brushing with spices won’t get you whiter teeth. Like fruits, spices such as turmeric will benefit your body more if you eat them with food rather than brush your teeth with them.
Baking soda, whether mixed with lemon juice, strawberries, or another substance, is too abrasive to use on your teeth. Plus, a study that compared a baking soda and strawberry mixture to over-the-counter and dentist-provided whitening products was not effective at whitening teeth.
So, if homemade options don’t work for getting your teeth whiter, what does work? There are several options that may help, depending on the degree of discoloration on your teeth.
First, skip the over-the-counter products. These can have serious side effects, such as enamel wear, sensitivity, gum irritation, and lack of results. Often, these methods don’t whiten more than one or two shades. To get your teeth as white as possible, go to your dentist for one of the following professional whitening treatments:
In-office teeth whitening is the strongest option available and ideal when you have severely darkened teeth that you want to get brighter as quickly as possible. The dentist takes care of the entire process, from putting the bleaching agent on your teeth to activating the agent with a light. You don’t need to do anything but let the doctor work, unlike home treatments that put you in charge of most of the work.
Because they have experience applying the whitening agent, you will have fewer side effects such as gum irritation and teeth sensitivity. Plus, you can get results in an hour. No other option produces the same whitening and speed as the in-office process.
Take-home teeth whitening kits offer more convenience and a more budget-friendly price than in-office whitening. Because the dentist provides these kits, they include trays with the bleach already in them to prevent improper application. You also get customized trays in the kit to fit your teeth, ensuring complete coverage of all your teeth without overlapping the gums.
Take-home kits can offer longer-lasting results than a single in-office treatment. So, if you have an event or need to whiten your teeth several shades, opt for in-office. However, if you have the time and want great results with an at-home kit, choose this customized option from your dentist.
After you whiten your teeth, keep the color looking great. Start with regular dental care, including cleanings. Professional cleanings eliminate unsightly plaque and tartar that can cause discoloration on your teeth and decay. Good dental care also keeps your teeth healthy because infections can cause discoloration of a tooth from the inside that whitening won’t fix. However, if you have a tooth that darkens, your dentist will treat the cause and cover the surface with a crown or veneer to match your surrounding teeth.
If you regularly drink beverages that stain your teeth or eat foods that do, get into the habit of rinsing your mouth with water after consuming them. Wait to brush your teeth at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking sodas, coffee, tea, wine, or fruit juices. The waiting period allows the saliva in your mouth and the water you drink to naturally reduce the acidity in your mouth so that you won’t damage your enamel.
So, is DIY teeth whitening safe? No! Nor is it effective. You won’t save money by trying DIY home remedies to whiten your teeth. Plus, you risk losing enamel, which can never grow back. Instead, get your teeth professionally whitened at Southview Cosmetic Dentistry. With a customized take-home kit, you get a stronger whitening option than you can buy at a pharmacy and enjoy the convenience of at-home whitening. What are you waiting for? Contact us at Southview Cosmetic Dentistry today for an appointment to finally get the whiter teeth you want.