Natural Teeth Whitening Myths That You Should Know About
Natural is in and everyone is turning to a more natural approach to everything they do from more organic food to natural cleaners so it is no surprise that there is also a big trend in natural teeth whitening. If you have noticed that your teeth are looking a little yellow, you are probably considering what your options are for getting your pearly white smile back. There are whitening toothpastes, teeth whitening and the DIY natural approach. While it might seem like a no-brainer that the natural approach would be the safest and most effective, that isn’t necessarily the case. Natural doesn’t automatically mean healthy and some DIY treatments can actually damage your teeth. Make sure you really investigate all options thoroughly.
Before you decide which approach is best for you, here are some natural teeth whitening myths that you should know about:
Acidic fruits can whiten your teeth.
One DIY natural approach is to combine naturally acidic ingredients like lemons, oranges or apple cider vinegar with a fruit that has digestive enzymes like pineapple and with something abrasive like baking soda. The combination of these ingredients is thought to remove stains and brighten your smile.
While fruit is an important staple in a healthy diet, when your teeth have prolonged contact with acid, it can actually cause damage to your teeth by wearing away the enamel and increasing your risk for tooth sensitivity and cavities. Teeth enamel doesn’t grow back. Once it is gone, it is gone for good.
Scrubs made with activated charcoal or a baking soda-hydrogen peroxide paste help brighten your smile.
Too much scrubbing can actually wear away the enamel of your teeth which could make your teeth look even more yellow. This is because the layer of tooth underneath the enamel called dentin is a soft, yellow tissue. A safer choice would be a whitening toothpaste that has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
Using an oil like coconut oil like a mouth wash (oil pulling) can whiten your teeth.
While oils are great to cook with, there is no science-based evidence that oil pulling is effective. Why take a chance? Your oral health is more important than that.
So what is the best way to whiten your teeth?
If you want to stick to the natural approach, then practice these daily habits:
- Make sure you brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day
- Floss your teeth to get those food particles stuck between your teeth once a day
- Limit your intake of food and beverages that stain your teeth like tomatoes, coffee and red wine
- Don’t smoke
- Use a whitening toothpaste with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
- Keep your teeth healthy by going to the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
If you choose to try a whitening toothpaste, keep in mind that because these toothpastes can only remove stains on the surface of the teeth, they cannot change the color of your teeth completely. And it could take several months of use before you see any noticeable change in the color of your teeth.
Another option is at-home bleaching kits. These whiteners contain peroxide and come in either a strip form that sticks to your teeth or as a gel that can be placed in a tray that can be put over your teeth. Whitening rinses are also available. Like mouthwashes, they freshen your breath, reduce dental plaque and help prevent gum disease, but these rinses also contain teeth whitening ingredients like hydrogen peroxide.
If you are looking for quicker, more dramatic results, talk to your dentist about other whitening options that can be done in the office. The dentist will apply either a protective shield or gel on your gums before applying the bleach directly on your teeth. With this approach, you will see an even bigger difference in the brightness of your smile. With a professional whitening, your teeth will get three or more shade lighter instead of just one. Why take a chance with the health of your smile when you can have a dental professional ensure that the whitening process is both effective and safe?
Keep in mind that not everyone is a good candidate for teeth whitening treatment. Some people’s teeth turn more gray than yellow as they age and for them, teeth whitening products really aren’t effective. They work better on yellow and some brown stains. Crowns and fillings can’t be whitened either. Anyone who has poor oral health aren’t good candidates either. If you have gum disease, broken or missing teeth or cavities, you need to have these issues resolved before you can even consider whitening treatment. If your tooth discoloration is the results of an injury or from medication, whitening won’t work either. Your dentist will be able to evaluate the condition of your mouth and recommend the best options for your particular situation.
If you do decide to get your teeth bleached, keep in mind that you will have to maintain your teeth brightness by touching them up with at-home whitening trays every 6 months. And also to keep the brightness longer, you should cut down on your soda, coffee and tea consumption. If you are a smoker, you will also need to touch up your teeth a lot sooner too.
Regardless of which option you choose, be aware that there are some side effects to the whitening process. Some people experience tooth sensitivity and using the whiteners too much can also damage your tooth enamel and even your gums. Make sure you go over all the pros and cons of each option with your dentist before making a final decision.
While DIY natural approaches might not be as safe and effective as you thought, don’t lose heart. There are safe, effective and affordable options available. You don’t have to be embarrassed about the condition of your smile anymore. Call your dentist today and ask about what teeth whitening options they have and schedule a consultation.