Teeth whitening is a popular solution for individuals who have stained or discolored teeth and would like to change that reality. Teeth can stain over time due to the consumption of certain foods and drinks. Smoking also causes tooth discoloration. Because people desire to whiten their teeth right away, DIY methods have become increasingly popular. The question is, are these methods safe and effective?
A popular DIY tooth whitening solution involves using an acidic substance, such as lemons, oranges, and apple cider vinegar, combined with an abrasive substance like baking soda. The issue with this concoction is that using an acidic substance to scrub the teeth eventually wears away tooth enamel. Enamel is the outer layer that protects the inner layers from being exposed, which prevents tooth sensitivity and cavities.
Another popular DIY tooth whitening solution contains ingredients like activated charcoal, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. However, there is no evidence that proves activated charcoal whitens teeth. Because activated charcoal is too abrasive for everyday use, the teeth can actually turn more yellow. Too rough of a scrub will produce the opposite effects and wear away tooth enamel, making teeth more prone to developing cavities.
Other popular DIY methods include oil pulling, which is when oils are swished around in the mouth to whiten the teeth. Other methods involve using spices, such as turmeric. However, there is no scientific evidence that proves oil pulling or using spices actually whitens the teeth.
The safest and most effective ways to whiten the teeth are to have a professional tooth whitening procedure done, and to practice good oral hygiene on a daily basis. To complete the procedure, dentists will start by placing a protective shield over the gums, such as a rubber shield or gel. Then they place a mouth guard over the teeth that contains the bleaching substance, which is usually a gel that consists of peroxide. As the teeth soak in the gel, the active bleaching ingredient is broken down, which allows oxygen to seep into the enamel and lighten the color.
As mentioned above, the best way to keep the teeth white is to take care of them every day. The teeth should be brushed twice daily for at least two minutes. It’s best to use a whitening toothpaste that contains the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The teeth should also be flossed at least once every day. Foods and drinks that stain the teeth should be limited, which includes coffee, tea, red wine, etc. Lastly, smoking tobacco should be avoided.
At McBride Dental, we offer various cosmetic dentistry services, including teeth whitening services. We use advanced equipment and whitening agents that remove stains and discolorations from the teeth, leaving our patients with beautiful white smiles. We offer both in-office and at-home whitening services. If you are in the San Diego area and would like to schedule an appointment with us, contact us today at (760) 471-1003.