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DIY Teeth Whitening—Helpful or Harmful?

DIY Teeth Whitening—Helpful or Harmful?

Surveys have shown that when asked what people would change about their smile, most responded with whiter teeth. That’s fair, who doesn’t want to have crisp, bright, white teeth?

But let us guess—your super holistic friend who knows everything about health, from aligning your chakras with the moon’s position to the charcoal that doubles as sunscreen, told you how to whiten your teeth at home, right? Are we close?

We hate to break it to you, but…

She’s wrong on this one. Despite what people “swear by,” not only do DIY whitening methods not work, they can actually ruin your teeth.

So what are some of these teeth-ruining culprits?

Ingredients that are hyper-acidic (citrus juices, apple cider vinegar), made of digestive enzymes (pineapple, mango), or just too abrasive (looking at you, baking soda) are all rumored to do great things for your teeth. But these “great” things come with a catch—the depletion of tooth enamel.

What’s tooth enamel? It’s the outer coating of your teeth—the part you should be trying to protect and whiten. When you brush away enamel with harsh ingredients, you see the tissue layer under it. And it’s the paint shade of “Canary” you saw at the home improvement store the other week. Not a good look for your teeth.

“Okay, but you can’t refute activated charcoal or hydrogen peroxide.” - You, probably

Actually, there is zero scientific evidence that using either of these things to whiten your teeth is effective or safe. If you heard about a girl whose best friend’s aunt’s neighbor had great results, just wait six months. When her teeth are in worse shape than they were before, she won’t be singing the same tune.

And it doesn’t stop there. Many spices and oils are in the same boat. Scientific evidence supporting their whitening results aren’t just lacking—there is absolutely no basis to them. None.

Fine, so what am I supposed to do?

There’s our favorite question!

Here are a few tricks to getting that sparkling smile:

  1. Take care of your teeth by brushing twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing at least once a day. We know, no one likes to floss. But once you make it a habit, it’s no big deal.
  2. Avoid coffee, tea, red wine, and smoking. We know this one can be tough. But some sacrifices are worth the results.
  3. When you feel the urge to take whitening matters into your own hands, do your pearly whites a favor and use a product with the ADA Seal of Acceptance (Hint: it won’t be found in your kitchen cabinet). This includes a lot of whitening toothpastes and even some at-home strips.
  4. Visit your dentist on a regular basis! Cleanings and checkups can make all the difference in the world of dental health and bright smiles.

Simply put, your teeth prefer scientifically-proven methods of whitening. If you’re still looking for a little extra sheen, your MDA dentist can always point you in the right direction.


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