Teeth Whitening: Get The Facts

Want a whiter, brighter smile? Read this before you reach into the cupboard for DIY solutions!

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Most people want a whiter, brighter smile. In fact, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked people what they’d most like to improve about their smile and the most common response was whiter teeth. It is no surprise there are a LOT of products and blogs out there that claim you can whiten your teeth with items either found in your cupboard or “natural” solutions you buy online. So are these DIY solutions the way to go? As a dental office, we’re going to say “No.” But it is not because we offer a whitening solution; it is because these so-called natural solutions can actually do more harm to your teeth than good.

Let’s break down some DIY methods and get the real facts about if they really work.

 “Does lemon and baking soda naturally whiten teeth?”

The idea behind this process is that you can use something acidic, like lemons or apple cider vinegar, combined with abrasive baking soda to make your teeth whiter and brighter.

·      Fact: The acids in fruit and vinegar can do a number on your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, prolonged use - like daily or weekly whitening - can wear away your enamel, the thin outer coating of your teeth that protects you from tooth sensitivity and cavities.

 “Does charcoal teeth whitening powder work?”

Activated charcoal is gaining popularity as an abrasive that’s used to “scrub” your teeth whiter. It is sold as both a toothpaste and powder.

·      Fact: There is no evidence that shows dental products with charcoal are safe or effective for your teeth, according to the September 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. And, using abrasive materials on your teeth can actually make them look more yellow. When abrasive substances like charcoal wear away the enamel (the part you’re looking to whiten) the next tooth layer is exposed which is softer and yellow.

 “I’ve heard a lot about turmeric. Does it really work?”

Oil pulling and turmeric are currently seen as a hot choice for not only whitening your teeth but also for “pulling” the impurities out of your mouth. The idea here is to swish a combination of coconut or olive oil with turmeric in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, spit it out and behold – whiter teeth.

Fact: According to the ADA, there is no reliable scientific evidence to show oil pulling or turmeric whitens teeth. Save the oil and spices for cooking.

 “What teeth whitening treatments do dentists recommend?”

Healthy brushing and flossing habits are the best way to keep your teeth white. Brush twice a day, for two minutes, and clean between your teeth at least once a day. Also, don’t smoke or use chewing tobacco and limit foods that stain like coffee, tea and red wine. There are some whitening toothpastes available, but if you’re looking to really whiten your teeth, a professional whitening treatment has no equal. That’s because whitening toothpastes and over-the-counter strips lack the strength to lighten deep discolorations.

Vacek Family Dentistry offers an at-home, whitening kit for patients that includes custom bleaching rays and a safe, professional grade solution that powers out deep stains. After wearing your trays as directed, you’ll notice whiter teeth within a week and even more dramatic results after two weeks, teeth that are six to 10 shades whiter!

Dr. Vacek also offers patients cosmetic bonding and porcelain veneers which offer instant whitening and improve the shape and size of your teeth. Call Dr. Vacek today and ask about the teeth whitening solution that is best for you. We want your smile to make you happy and give you confidence!


Dr. Craig Vacek