Is DIY Whitening Safe?
Are you unhappy with the appearance of your smile due to stains or discoloration? Teeth whitening is a great way to improve your aesthetics and boost your self-confidence as well. A brighter smile will make you want to interact with others more and is likely to make you a happier person.
While there are many ways to whiten your teeth, it’s important to know which ones are healthy and which aren’t. There are many popular whitening trends that can actually cause more harm than good to your teeth. Learn about effective do it yourself whitening treatments and which products you should avoid.
Whitening With Fruit
Many cleaning products have citrus extracts in them due to their ability to remove stains. Because of this fact, people have tried making pastes out of strawberries or using lemon and orange peels to whiten their teeth.
However, the high acidity level in fruit can cause the enamel on your teeth to erode– making them susceptible to further staining and damage. If you do want to receive the whitening benefits from fruit, try eating the fruit normally instead. But make sure to rinse with water and brush your teeth afterward.
Another popular trend is using dental products with activated charcoal to whiten your teeth. This black substance is made from a variety of abrasive materials that are finely ground to create a powder. It’s used for reasons such as eliminating toxins from the body and removing stains from surfaces. People use this as a natural alternative to traditional whitening treatments and claim it works just as well.
However, there is no scientific proof that activated charcoal will whiten your teeth. In fact, it can cause your teeth to be more vulnerable to decay and could even damage your enamel. Although most products that contain this material consist of a finely ground powder, they often still contain abrasive properties.
The Pros and Cons of Whitening With Baking Soda
Baking soda is all-natural and made from sodium carbonate. It’s often used in cleaning products and as a subtle air freshener as well. This mildly abrasive ingredient is also used by brands to create a more gentle, natural toothpaste.
The substance is safe to use occasionally for teeth whitening but can damage your teeth if used too frequently — according to professionals like Dr. Elaine Chow.
If you’re looking for a homemade whitening treatment using baking soda, combine two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with one tablespoon of baking soda. Make sure to stir the paste well to ensure it’s not too thick and abrasive.
Store-Bought Whitening Kits
Many dental brands like Crest, Colgate, and Oral-b make teeth whitening kits that you can use from the comfort of your own home. They claim that you’ll get similar results as you would from having your teeth professionally whitened. The kits consist of strips or gels that contain hydrogen peroxide — which is used by dentists to whiten your smile.
When choosing a whitening kit, it’s crucial that you consult with your dentist first and ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy enough for whitening treatment. You should also look for the ADA seal of acceptance before purchasing these products. If you have sensitive teeth, dentists like Dr. Chris Reger recommend choosing a whitening kit with a lower percentage of hydrogen peroxide.
Why Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments are Most Beneficial
While some DIY whitening treatments can be effective, many can cause long term negative effects to your oral health. They may make your teeth appear whiter for a short period of time but can erode your enamel as well, causing your teeth to be vulnerable to deeper stains.
Having your smile brightened by an experienced dentist, such as Dr. David Blaustein, will guarantee that you receive the highest quality results. During your treatment, your dentist will apply a special whitening gel to your teeth. The gel is typically sealed with a professional dental light to ensure your teeth stay whiter longer.
How to Maintain a White Smile
If you’ve recently whitened your teeth at home or with a professional, the best way to keep your smile looking beautiful is by being conscious about lifestyle choices. This means keeping up with your oral hygiene and limiting foods that are most likely to stain your teeth.
With Good Oral Hygiene
Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day as well as rinsing with an alcohol-free mouthwash daily. Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance that keeps your teeth strong and helps fight off bacteria that can lead to staining. It’s crucial that your toothpaste includes this ingredient if you want to maintain a white smile.
Modifying Your Diet
Dark-colored food or beverages can stain your teeth due to their dark compounds. To prevent discoloration, consider limiting your intake of wine, dark soda, black tea, coffee, and berries. If you do decide to consume these foods, make sure to rinse with water and then brush your teeth immediately.