Having a healthy, bright smile is important to most of us. In fact, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that people who want to improve their smile, say they want to do so by whitening their teeth.
To achieve this, many people rely on over-the-counter tooth whitening products, while others have had their teeth professionally whitened by a dentist. But some people try home remedies for whitening teeth with natural products, believing these remedies are both safe and effective.
Problems with Teeth Whitening DIY
Many at-home teeth whitening methods are, at a minimum, ineffective, and in the worst case, can adversely affect your teeth and your health. Following are a few of the more common teeth whitening DIY products that are used for at-home treatments.
Oil pulling involves swishing oil—like coconut or sunflower oil—and pulling it through the teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) says there is no scientific evidence that this practice whitens teeth or enhances oral health. The ADA doesn’t recommend this practice. And, more worrisome, the practice can lead to what is called lipoid pneumonia, in which the lungs become inflamed from ingesting oil.
Charcoal and Baking Soda Scrubs
Another at-home teeth whitening treatment involves making scrubs. Scrubs like these actually have the opposite effect in that they can erode enamel rather than whitening it and removing stains. Too much erosion exposes dentin, the soft, yellow tissue under your enamel. Revealing this layer makes your teeth look more yellow rather than whiter.
In addition, activated charcoal can be dangerous to your health as it has been known to adhere to stomach lining.
Fruits and Vinegar
Fruit is great for your health. But, they are not so great when acidic citrus fruits mixed with baking soda are used as a DIY whitener. Scrubs like these—as well as those made of apple cider vinegar—can adversely affect your tooth enamel. Acids make your teeth more sensitive and prone to cavities, not whiter.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Teeth whitening is safe if you have healthy teeth and gums and no cracks in your teeth. Govani Dental recommends over-the-counter whitening strips and toothpaste that includes the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Govani Dental also offers whitening for qualified patients by providing them trays that are customized, fit correctly in the office and used at home.
However, nothing beats traditional practices to keep your teeth looking white:
• Brush for two minutes twice a day
• Use a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance
• Floss at least once a day
• Limit your intake of stain-causing coffee, tea and red wine
• Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco
• See your dentist regularly
Do You Have Questions on Teeth Whitening? Ask Govani Dental
Govani Dental encourages you to take caution when using teeth whitening products, and if you decide to use an over-the-counter option, don’t overdo it. As a general rule, your teeth should be no brighter than the whites of your eyes. If you have questions about whether teeth whitening is safe for you, just ask! Contact us to make an appointment today or call 920-231-1955.