Not everything you see on Facebook and Instagram is true, especially when it comes to “natural” teeth whitening. One of the biggest misunderstandings we see among patients is the idea that all-natural ingredients are good for your smile. In reality, many of the ingredients used for natural teeth whitening are abrasive to your teeth and can wear away enamel over time.
Continue reading to learn what myths our dentists want you to know.
Myth #1: Activated Charcoal is Approved by the ADA for Whitening Teeth
Activated charcoal is a black powder made of peat, olive pits, coconut shells, slowly burned wood, and other natural ingredients. However, it’s important to remember that “natural” doesn’t always mean healthy. For example, tobacco is natural and known to cause lung cancer. Activated charcoal hasn’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the American Dental Association for.
There’s no scientific evidence proving activated charcoal is safe or effective for teeth whitening. In fact, using abrasive scrubs can actually wear away the protective outer layer of your teeth and reveal the yellow dentin beneath. Once this happens, your teeth will actually look yellower, not whiter. You want to whiten your tooth enamel, not scrub it away.
Myth #2: Lemon Juice and Baking Soda are Safe to Use on Enamel
While eating fruit is good for your health, you should never allow acidic fruit juice to sit on your teeth for prolonged periods of time. The acid in lemons and other fruits can wear away the outer layer of your teeth (enamel). Enamel not only makes your teeth appear white, but protects the sensitive layer of dentin underneath. Once you wear away the enamel, you’re more vulnerable to tooth sensitivity and decay.
It’s a myth that you can safely whiten teeth with lemon juice and baking soda. Unlike toothpaste, baking soda is abrasive and will wear away your tooth enamel over time. Likewise, lemon juice is too acidic to sit on the surface of your teeth. You’re much better off using fluoridated toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association to strengthen enamel and whiten teeth.
Since lemons are highly acidic, it’s difficult to know how much baking soda is needed to cancel out the acidity of the lemon juice. Rather than risking your oral health, we highly recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our dentists to learn how to safely whiten teeth.
Myth #3: Oil Pulling Has Been Proven to Whiten Teeth
Oil pulling is the practice of swishing a teaspoon of edible oil (typically coconut) around your mouth to achieve white teeth. While proponents claim that oil pulling helps remove the bacteria responsible for plaque and tartar, there’s currently no evidence to support this theory. While anecdotes can be compelling, they don’t replace scientific evidence.
It’s important to understand that many factors affect teeth whitening, such as smoking, eating staining foods, and neglecting oral health. While it may appear that oil pulling helps whiten teeth, the difference could be due to something simpler like reducing how much coffee you drink.
What’s the Best Way to Whiten Teeth?
It’s much easier than you think to maintain healthy white teeth. The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth twice a day and floss once daily. You should also see our dentists for teeth cleanings and oral examinations at least every 6 months. Following these recommendations will help remove plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth, which helps you keep a white smile.
Limit coffee, tea, and other staining foods that could dull your smile. You should also avoid using tobacco products to avoid staining your teeth over time. In the end, good oral hygiene habits make the best home remedies for whitening teeth.
We understand the appeal of whitening your teeth from the comfort of your own home, which is why we often recommend custom teeth whitening trays for our patients. Unlike abrasive scrubs you can concoct in your kitchen, custom whitening trays have been proven to effectively whiten teeth without destroying your enamel. We also offer in our office. Zoom whitening gives you a noticeably whiter smile in one appointment.