Dentists caution against DIY tooth whitening. Here's why.
At-home, do-it-yourself teeth whitening fads such as activated charcoal, baking soda and peroxide, and coconut oil have the potential to be dangerous if overused or misused.Posted — Updated
There is no question that pearly white teeth are all the rage right now.
While it may be tempting to try different DIY treatments to get that Instagram-worthy smile, it is important to remember that whiter teeth do not necessarily mean healthy teeth.
If you are going to whiten your teeth, always check in with your dentist first and let him or her know what you are considering for treatment. They will be able to tell you fact from fiction and point you away from trends that may do more harm than good.
"There are so many whitening fads out there right now," said Dr. Brad Adams of Goldsboro. "Some may, in fact, lead to whiter teeth, some probably won't do more than waste your money. But it's important to talk to your dentist first to find out what options won't hurt your teeth and gums in the long run."
Dangers of DIY Whitening
At-home, do-it-yourself teeth whitening fads such as activated charcoal, baking soda and peroxide, and coconut oil have the potential to be dangerous if overused or misused. These inexpensive, homemade options are not monitored by dentists, which means you could be damaging anything in your mouth from your gums to your enamel.
"Many over-the-counter teeth whiteners work because of their abrasive qualities. These same qualities can cause major damage to gums and tooth enamel, which can lead to yellowing of the teeth down the road," Adams explained. "If you're going to whiten your teeth, make sure you're doing it safely."
Charcoal is trending across the beauty sphere right now, from face washes and supplements to toothpaste.
Baking soda and peroxide are included in many store-bought whitening products. These commercial products can work as stain removers over time, but mixing up solutions at home with these abrasive materials can damage teeth and gums if used improperly.
Oil pulling involves swishing coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes at a time before spitting it out. However, this process has not been studied or proven as a whitening solution by the ADA.
Store-Bought Whitening Warnings
Even store-bought whitening products from trusted companies like Colgate and Crest can be ineffective if teeth are not healthy. Furthermore, if there is any tooth decay or you have untreated cavities, bleaching your teeth can be extremely painful.
Dentists are often found locally through word-of-mouth, and if you have any friends or family members who love their dentists, it is worth scheduling an initial appointment to meet and begin to develop a relationship with a trusted dentist before you need treatment or have any serious issues.
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