Best DIY Teeth Whitening Tip: Don’t Do It! Here’s Why

Picture this: You’ve just received an invitation to your 20-year college reunion, or maybe you accepted a proposal from Mr. or Ms. Right. Whatever the reason, you want a smile that dazzles, and you should have it. You just shouldn’t do it alone.

Unfortunately, getting the smile of your dreams requires more than just a quick fix, no matter what your favorite beauty blogger says—and we recommend focusing your DIY dreams on refinishing that antique mirror or building a new house for Fido.

Is teeth whitening dangerous?

In the hands of a pro, teeth whitening is a safe option for giving your smile a little extra sparkle. Unfortunately, most DIY solutions are ineffective and potentially harmful.

The following are some common tips you’ll find out there on how to whiten teeth at home—and why our Atlanta teeth whitening team says you could get into trouble if you give them a try.

Claim: Baking soda is a great way to whiten your teeth

False! While you may see some short-term results as you rub away surface stains, baking soda is much too abrasive if used frequently. Scrubbing with this pantry staple can also throw off the balance of your mouth’s good bacteria, leading to a higher risk of infection.

Claim: You can easily use hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth

False! When used in excess, hydrogen peroxide can actually worsen your oral health by causing tooth sensitivity, gum irritation, soft tissue damage on the tongue and throat, and aging your smile. A common result of “over bleaching” with peroxide is a blue cast to the teeth.

Claim: Lemon can make your teeth shine

False! Many popular teeth whitening recipes tout lemon as a great way to pull out stains and make teeth pearly white. Unfortunately, this sour fruit is packed with citric acid that can erode your tooth enamel. That means sensitivity and further discoloration.

Pro-tip: while we recommend never applying lemon to the teeth as a treatment, you don’t have to avoid acidic foods altogether. Make sure to drink a glass of water after coffee, soft drinks, and acidic fruits—and do not brush immediately after eating/drinking.

Claim: Activated charcoal is the latest and greatest way to whiten your teeth

False! An influx of videos and images showcasing smiling mouths full of blackened teeth have been making their way around the internet, leaving most of us pretty confused. DIY beauty fans everywhere have begun using activated charcoal for at-home teeth whitening. Unfortunately, this is another method that will likely do more damage than good, leading to enamel deterioration and tooth erosion that may leave teeth blotchy or stained.

Claim: Coconut oil works for everything…even teeth whitening

False(ish)! We agree that coconut oil is a pretty great way to soften skin, give recipes a tropical flair, or even polish furniture. And while it won’t hurt your teeth, this pricey product isn’t going to make them any whiter. That being said, using some coconut oil on your teeth—in conjunction with regular teeth brushing—could potentially help reduce plaque.

I still want whiter teeth. What should I do?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that those hoping for a whiter smile should consult with their dentist before using any over-the-counter products or DIY hacks. This is particularly important for patients with crowns, multiple fillings, and dark stains, as their teeth may be more sensitive or not react well to whitening.

If you’re in the greater Atlanta area, we would love to hear from you! Dr. Gurley is accepting new patients and would be happy to provide you with a comprehensive oral examination to determine if teeth whitening is a good fit for you. Often, our patients are surprised to see that a thorough cleaning helped restore their smile’s sparkle.Contact us today to get started, and together we’ll determine the best course of action. Now that’s something to smile about!

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