Search Google and you’ll find a hundred suggestions about how to whiten your teeth at home. Among these suggestions are dozens of home remedies that simply don’t work and may actually damage your teeth.
We’ve dug through the internet to find some of the top whitening myths you might have come across here in Columbus, Indiana, to clarify or debunk them and explain why receiving whitening treatment from your local dentist is really the best choice.
Myth #1 — Baking Soda Will Whiten Your Teeth
Bloggers suggest that daily brushing with baking soda will whiten your teeth, and there’s actually some truth to this claim. Baking soda is naturally abrasive and can help clean surface stains from your teeth, which is why it’s found in some whitening toothpastes. It won’t dramatically whiten your smile, however, and must be applied as part of your daily routine.
Myth #2 — Whitening Toothpaste Will Provide a Bright Smile
Whitening toothpaste, while less expensive than professional whitening treatment, is only able to remove surface stains from teeth, not the deep stains that permanently discolor your smile. And although a safe product, overuse can damage your teeth by removing enamel over time due to abrasives in the toothpaste.
Myth #3 — Just Rinse with Hydrogen Peroxide for Whiter Teeth
It’s true that hydrogen peroxide will whiten your teeth. But as with toothpastes and baking soda, swishing hydrogen peroxide as part of your daily routine may only brighten your smile a shade or two and typically only after months or years of consistent use. What swishing hydrogen peroxide is really best for is simply keeping stains away.
If you do want to use hydrogen peroxide in your daily routine, there’s some simple step you should follow.
- Only use hydrogen peroxide that is diluted to 3 percent strength or less. Stronger blends can damage tissues, so make sure you read the labels when purchasing hydrogen peroxide at the store.
- When you swish, rinse with ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide for 1 minute, then spit it out. Do not swallow — hydrogen peroxide is dangerous when ingested.
- After spitting, rinse your mouth with water for 1 minute and spit out the water. If you still feel tingling at the end of the minute, rinse again with water until all the hydrogen peroxide is gone from around your teeth.
Myth #4 — Strawberries, Lemons, and Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth
This myth suggests that certain acids found in strawberries, lemons, oranges, and coconut oil will whiten your teeth. While acid in general will remove surface stains on your teeth, it does so at the cost of weakening your enamel. Weakened enamel can lead to dental issues such as damaged teeth and cavities, and those problems certainly won’t help your smile. Also, sugars found in strawberries and lemons act as food for bacteria in your mouth, which produce acids that further damage your enamel.
There are other methods of teeth whitening that are both more effective and less destructive and which won’t leave you with a sour taste in your mouth. We suggest one of these, particularly the gel whitening treatment offered by White River Dental.
Myth #5 — Over the Counter Gel Whiteners are Just as Effective as Treatments at the Dentist
Whitening solutions available at the drug store offer an effective method of whitening teeth with dental tray and gel. The downside to this method of whitening is that it is not as effective as whitening treatment offered by your dentist. This is because your local dental expert will provide you a custom-fit dental tray, which will form to your teeth and better distribute the whitening gel around them, ensuring no spots are missed. Also, the gel provided by your dentist will have higher concentration of carbamide peroxide, the active ingredient in gels that whitens your teeth, so you’ll have a whiter smile faster using the treatment your dentist provides as opposed to the store-bought treatment.
Also worth considering is comfort — because store-bought treatments come with generic dental trays, the tray might rub your mouth due to poor fit, causing discomfort. A custom tray prepared by your local dentist will greatly reduce the likelihood of you experiencing discomfort because it will be designed to fit your mouth.
Teeth whitening treatments are available at White River Dental. You can learn more about how teeth whitening fits into the bigger picture of cosmetic dentistry by visiting our Cosmetic Dentistry page. If you’d like to know more about how we can whiten your teeth, call or schedule a consultation.