At Home Teeth Whitening Trends: Fact or FictioN?

Recently, several DIY (“Do It Yourself”), at home, teeth whitening trends have surfaced on social media, online and in magazines. Because the majority of us wish for a whiter and brighter smile, it is easy to fall susceptible to the presented natural remedies. However, using these methods may often lead to more harm than benefit, with unproven efficiencies: 

1. Kitchen staples: various fruits,  lemons, oranges, apple cider vinegar, pineapple, mango, baking soda 

Normal consumption of these items is healthy, but using them in efforts of whitening can be damaging. These products often contain acidic digestive enzymes and possess abrasive qualities that may potentially wear away at your enamel with prolonged exposure. Your enamel serves as the thin outer coating  that protects your teeth from sensitivity and cavities. 

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2. Scrubs: activated charcoal, baking soda-hydrogen peroxide paste 

Currently, no evidence exists in support of dental products with charcoal being safe or effective. In fact, these corrosive materials may actually lead to your teeth becoming yellower in appearance. If the scrub is too rough, the enamel may wear away, exposing the underlying layer, dentin, which is a soft, yellow tissue. 

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3. Spices/Oils: coconut oil, turmeric spice 

Oils and spices are great additions in cooking. However, swishing them around your mouth or trying them out for whitening purposes, has yielded no reliable scientific evidence. 

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Though these DIY trends may actually negatively impact the appearance and health of your teeth, there are numerous ways in which you can take action daily to improve upon or maintain the whiteness of your teeth. These methods include: 

  • Brushing your teeth two times per day, for two minutes per instance 
  • Utilizing a whitening toothpaste, with the ADA Seal of Acceptance 
  • Flossing between your teeth frequently 
  • Not smoking or using tobacco products
  • Regularly visiting your dentist for periodic checkups and cleanings 
  • Limiting intake of foods and beverages that may stain your teeth (coffee, tea, red wine) 

Before trying a specific whitening product or service, consult your dentist for advice before proceeding. Several ADA approved bleaching products exist, but certain ones may be better for your teeth than others. Additionally, inquire about the whitening services and products that are offered at your dental practice to learn more, and receive an expert opinion on how to best approach with brightening your smile! These services often yield safer and longer lasting results, with scientific validation. 

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