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Health Team

Dentist: TikTok whitening hacks could be harmful to teeth

Posted September 15, 2020 6:34 p.m. EDT
Updated September 15, 2020 7:47 p.m. EDT

— You may have seen the TikTok videos on social media about whitening your teeth.

TikTok videos with the hashtag "#teethwhitening" make up over 330 million views. Some recommend applying toothpaste, baking soda and aluminum foil. Others say to use bleach to avoid expensive over-the-counter treatments.

“I haven’t seen too many do-it-yourselves work out, and I’ve seen many people try,” said Dr. Justin Russo of Russo Dentistry in Raleigh.

Russo said he admires the creativity but said you may be damaging your teeth by following some of the TikTok instructions.

“You need to be careful what you’re rubbing your teeth with. If you’re rubbing it and it’s strong enough to take off stains very effectively, it could also be thinning your enamel out," Russo said.

Russo said the acidic reaction can burn your enamel down, which doesn’t grow back.

"Things can go wrong, and they often go wrong, Russo said. "If it was easy to execute properly, a lot of times, there wouldn’t be an office service."

However, there are some things you can do at home. The North Carolina Dental Society said there are three safe and effective methods:

  • Brushing and flossing
  • Good nutrition
  • Using American Dental Association-approved whitening products

"I would try the Crest White Strips or the at-home whitening first before I would dial it up and seek an in-office treatment or anything beyond that level,” Russo said.

Russo also said fear of getting COVID-19 may be a reason why people are avoiding going to dentist offices and choosing to try some of those do-it-yourself ideas at home. If that’s the case, he said, people can and should call their dentists and ask about their safety protocols and procedures.

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