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Can I Safely Whiten My Smile On My Own?

added on: December 20, 2019
smiling girl

In today’s digital age, we’re constantly exposed to products and DIY tips to do anything, including whitening your smile. While we understand that the desire to get a brighter grin is a very real thing for many of our patients, your dentist in Toledo wants to educate you on some of the dangers lurking behind some of the most popular DIY smile whitening trends.

Over-The-Counter Whitening Pens & Strips

There are so many over-the-counter whitening products available to us that it can be overwhelming. While many of these products can work to whiten your teeth, they don’t come without their risks. Whitening pens and whitening strips, for example, can temporarily transform your smile, but their results can oftentimes be less than ideal. Since neither whitening pens nor whitening strips are custom-made, there’s a greater chance that they won’t reach all areas of the teeth and the results can end up looking uneven or streaky. But there’s another reason your dentist in Toledo may be concerned with you using these treatments. Many times the whitening solution in whitening pens and strips can soak into your gum tissue and cause irritation.

All-Natural Smile Whitening

A popular smile whitening trend that seems to be taking the internet by storm is the use of all-natural whitening remedies. Don’t let the term “all-natural” lead you into thinking that all of these solutions are safe and recommended. The truth is, there is danger behind some of the popular all-natural whitening tricks.

Lemon Juice 
We’ve seen an increase in people claiming that there are smile whitening benefits of applying lemon juice or a mixture of lemon juice and other natural ingredients directly to teeth. While it’s true that lemon juice may slightly whiten teeth temporarily, it’s not recommended. Lemon juice is highly acidic and acid is a big no-no when it comes to protecting the integrity of tooth enamel. Too much acid, especially when it’s applied directly onto teeth, can easily damage tooth enamel and lead to increased tooth sensitivity, and a higher risk for decay and cavities.

Baking Soda
Another popular all-natural smile whitening trend that’s been around for quite some time is baking soda. Again, like lemon juice, baking soda or toothpastes that contain baking soda may temporarily whiten teeth, but due to its abrasive nature it can also damage tooth enamel. Once tooth enamel is gone, there’s no way to get it back and teeth are left exposed to bad bacteria and are at risk for larger oral health concerns long-term.

Activated Charcoal
Yet another all-natural whitening treatment is activated charcoal. Supporters of activated charcoal promise that it will easily and effectively pull impurities and stains out of the teeth, resulting in a whiter appearance. However, charcoal is also abrasive and poses the same risks as baking soda. It can wear away and damage tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities. What’s more is that teeth may begin to appear more discolored as we lose enamel.

Just because there are many ways you can whiten your teeth on your own – it doesn’t necessarily mean you should utilize them. Before you consider a DIY approach to smile whitening, talk with your dentist in Toledo to better understand safe and effective options.

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