We all want whiter teeth and we all want a bargain, so whitening your teeth at home is no big deal right?
While there are plenty of recipes online for DIY whitening at home that can include fruit, activated charcoal or spices and oils, there is no reliable scientific evidence that shows these are safe and effective whitening techniques. Let’s take a look at each:
Scrubs/Activated Charcoal —
These methods have you scrub your teeth with ingredients which could include activated charcoal or baking soda/hydrogen peroxide paste that will make your smile white.
According to the Journal of the American Dental Association there is no evidence that shows charcoal is safe or effective for your teeth. “Dental clinicians should advise their patients to be cautious when using charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices with unproven claims of efficacy and safety.”
Materials that are too abrasive can make your teeth appear more yellow. This is because you can wear away your enamel (which is the part of the tooth you want to whiten) when using a scrub that is too rough and that will cause the next layer of your teeth to become exposed- this is the softer, yellow tissue called dentin.
This DIY whitening trend using common household ingredients like lemons, oranges or apple cider vinegar combined with baking soda to make a paste and then applied to your teeth. This claims it will make your teeth whiter and brighter.
Fruit is a great option when eaten, however fruit and vinegar are very acidic and can cause damage when your teeth are exposed to these for prolonged periods. The abrasive baking soda will scuff your teeth while the fruit juice will erode your teeth causing you to lose your tooth enamel and this can cause tooth sensitivity and cavities.
Spices and oils —
By rinsing and swishing with oils like coconut oil (oil pulling) or using spices like turmeric can help whiten your teeth by using one part coconut oil, one part baking soda and two parts turmeric powder. Mix all these together and place the slurry on your teeth regularly and your teeth will whiten before your eyes!
As stated with the other options listed above there is no reliable scientific evidence of the effectiveness of whitening your teeth this way.
Best Whitening options
The best way to maintain a healthy, white smile includes:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes
- Using a whitening toothpaste that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance
- Cleaning between your teeth (Flossing)
- Limiting foods that stain like coffee, tea, red wine, ketchup, etc
- Avoid smoking or using tobacco of any kind
- Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings
Why you should choose professional whitening over home whitening
A dental office will usually make custom trays that fit your teeth like a glove which will allow the product better coverage of your teeth. This product different than what you by in the store in many ways, mainly, it is a different concentrate and is stronger which is why you must purchase it from a dental professional.
There are other professional options which include a take home tray that you fit on your teeth similar to Crest White-strips but with that stronger concentrate mentioned before. There is also in office bleaching which is done several different ways, some that are laser and some done with a light.
Talk to your dentist about teeth whitening before you begin using any product or service. Some whitening methods may not work for all teeth – have your dentist help you make the best, effective and healthiest choice. DIY methods will not be safer than getting your teeth professionally whitened at the dental office.