A lot of people want a bright white smile, but there’s a lot of foods and drinks that stain and discolor your teeth. There are tons of information on natural teeth whitening and “DIY home whitening treatments” but are they safe? Do they actually work? A lot of them can actually do real damage to your enamel.
Another problem with a lot of these practices is they’re not approved by the American Dental Association. We recommend any of our cosmetic dentists if you want to whiten your teeth in a safe and effective way. You can schedule an appointment with them today. We’ll go through five different myths so you can keep your teeth safe and healthy.
Myth #1: Activated Charcoal is Safe for Teeth Whitening
Activated charcoal is a black powder made of peat, olive pits, coconut shells, slowly burned wood and other natural ingredients. However, it’s important to remember that “natural” doesn’t always mean healthy.
For example, tobacco is natural and known to cause lung cancer. Activated charcoal hasn’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the American Dental Association for teeth whitening.
There’s no scientific evidence proving activated charcoal is safe or effective for teeth whitening. In fact, using abrasive scrubs can actually wear away the protective outer layer of your teeth (enamel) and reveal the yellow dentin beneath.
Once this happens, your teeth will actually look yellower, not whiter. You want to whiten your tooth enamel, not scrub it away.
Myth #2: Lemon Juice and Baking Soda Won’t Harm Enamel
While eating fruit is good for your health, you should never allow acidic fruit juice to sit on your teeth for prolonged periods of time. The acid in lemons and other fruits can wear away the outer layer of your teeth (enamel).
Enamel not only makes your teeth appear white but protects the sensitive layer of dentin underneath. Once you wear away the enamel, you’re more vulnerable to tooth sensitivity and decay.
It’s a myth that you can safely whiten teeth with lemon juice and baking soda. Unlike toothpaste, baking soda is abrasive and will wear away your tooth enamel over time.
Likewise, lemon juice is too acidic to sit on the surface of your teeth. You’re much better off using fluoridated toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association to strengthen enamel and whiten teeth.
Since lemons are highly acidic, it’s difficult to know how much baking soda is needed to cancel out the acidity of the lemon juice. Rather than risking your oral health, we highly recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our dentists to learn how to safely whiten teeth.
Myth #3: Oil Pulling is 100% Effective at Whitening Teeth
Oil pulling is the practice of swishing a teaspoon of edible oil (typically coconut) around your mouth to achieve white teeth. While proponents claim that oil pulling helps remove the bacteria responsible for plaque and tartar, there’s currently no solid evidence to support this theory.
It’s important to understand that many factors affect teeth whitening, such as smoking, eating staining foods, and neglecting oral health. While it may appear that oil pulling helps whiten teeth, the difference could be due to something simpler like reducing how much coffee you drink.
Myth #4: Sensitive Teeth Cannot be Whitened
This one goes out to everyone with sensitive teeth. Maybe you’re thinking, “I want to whiten my teeth but they’re really sensitive. What should I do?” Don’t worry, you too can have your teeth whitened.
First, we recommend that you schedule an appointment so we can figure out what options are best for you. There are a lot of different options so the sensitivity level of your whitening treatment depends on how sensitive your teeth are.
Your dentist may lean more towards a peroxide, a fluoride, or potassium nitrate (an active ingredient in Sensodyne) based treatment, but these aren’t the only options.
Hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient in whitening treatments used for its oxidizing ability. However, peroxide is the main suspect in whitening sensitivity making it an unlikely candidate for sensitive teeth whitening.
Myth #5: Turmeric Doesn’t Work
Turmeric is famous for making everything it touches yellow so it sounds counterintuitive that it can actually be a great tool for teeth whitening. While it’s true there isn’t definitive proof that turmeric whitens teeth, there have been multipleall providing .
Unlike lemon juice and baking soda, turmeric doesn’t have any corrosive agents that eat away at your enamel. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory that can also help remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth. Turmeric treatments are likely to be more time-intensive. Ask your dentists about how turmeric can help your teeth.
Healthy Teeth Whitening Habits
It’s much easier than you think to maintain healthy white teeth. The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth twice a day and floss once daily.
You should also see our dentists for teeth cleanings and oral examinations at least every 6 months. Following these recommendations will help remove plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth, which helps you keep a white smile.
Limit coffee, tea, and other staining foods that could dull your smile. You should also avoid using tobacco products to avoid staining your teeth over time. In the end, good oral hygiene habits make the best home remedies for whitening teeth.
We often recommend custom teeth whitening trays because we understand the appeal of whitening your teeth from the comfort of your own home. Custom whitening trays are proven and effective teeth whiteners that don’t destroy your enamel, unlike those harsh scrubs you can brew at home.
Schedule an Appointment
Do you want whiter teeth? Our experienced dentists in Canton, MI, are accepting new patients. To request an appointment and learn if you’re a candidate for teeth whitening, call Hometown Dental at (734) 667-4941.