Everyone wants to save a buck, and in today’s economy there’s a flourishing of DIY methods for almost everything. One of the things that we, as dentists, have noticed is a surge in at-home teeth whitening “hacks.” But will these money saving tips actually be all that helpful?
We’ve been getting teeth whitening results for a long time at our Orlando office. Plenty of patients have asked us about how effective DIY whitening tricks are, and unfortunately the results don’t look promising. We still want to talk about these less-than-effective tricks so you know what not to spend time on and what could be dangerous to your teeth.
Hydrogen Peroxide + Baking Soda = ?
We’ve all heard that you can use a bit of baking soda as an alternative to toothpaste. The gritty texture of the baking soda definitely helps remove bacteria from your teeth, making it a good choice in a pinch. Lifehackers have recently taken to adding a bit of hydrogen peroxide in order to get a whitening effect too – does it work?
Hydrogen peroxide can definitely whiten teeth, but it needs to be used under very specific conditions that simply aren’t these ones. Most importantly, hydrogen peroxide has to be much stronger than the stuff in the brown bottle. It also has to be completely isolated against your teeth because of how weak it is – even saliva breaks it down and stops it from working!
It sounds like it makes sense to use baking soda and peroxide to whiten teeth, but it’s simply too good to be true.
Peel Off The Stains With Fruit?
There are a number of blogs and websites out there that argue for the use of fruit peels to whiten teeth. They primarily advocate for banana peels and citrus peels, both of which have different “active ingredients.”
Banana peels are supposedly effective because they contain magnesium and potassium. There’s also a slight gritty texture to banana peels, and when you rub the inside of them against your teeth you’re supposed to end up with whiter teeth in just a few weeks.
But let’s be realistic – you’re not going to remove deep stains with a banana peel. Potassium and magnesium are good for bones, and the nitrate in the potassium can give your teeth a bit of temporary shine. Just don’t expect whiter teeth.
Citrus, on the other hand, is just a downright bad idea. The whitening ability of oranges, lemons, limes, and other fruits is supposed to be in the acids the peels contain. Rubbing acid on your teeth, however, is a one way ticket to cavities. Tooth decay develops because plaque bacteria creates acids that wear away your teeth. Why would you add unnecessary acid to make their jobs easier?
Pulling Out Stains With Coconut Oil?
Oil pulling has been around for a very long time. The practice involves taking a tablespoon of coconut oil and swishing it in your mouth for ten to twenty minutes. In theory it’s supposed to remove stains but in practice … not so much.
Swishing with oil won’t hurt you, and it will in fact pull bacteria away from your teeth. Then again, so will a toothbrush and some floss, which is definitely the preferred method. If you take to oil pulling don’t forget to keep brushing. Then realize you’re doing the same thing twice for no added benefit.
Teeth Whitening That ACTUALLY Works
If you want bright, white teeth like the ones you had when you were young you really don’t have a DIY option. Teeth whitening requires concentrated formulas that penetrate the surface of your teeth to remove accumulated stain particles and break them down into colorless pieces.
We all want to believe in natural remedies, but when it comes down to it there’s no good evidence that these particular ones work. All you’re likely to end up with is a lot of extra fruit peels, too much coconut oil, and a gross foaming baking soda mixture in your mouth.
The whitening we offer at Overmeyer Family Dental works, and we’re confident you’ll love the results we can produce. Your whitening will be custom tailored to meet your needs and get you a smile that’s the perfect shade.
Don’t DIY If You Want Results
Stop wasting time trying to get a whiter smile with unreliable DIY methods. Come to our Orlando office so we can create a custom whitening treatment that will truly deliver the smile of your dreams.