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Do It Yourself Tooth Whitening, Does It Work? Separating Fact From Fiction

Trends impact every aspect of life, from fashion to slang to which trinkets are collectible and which fad diet everyone is following this year.

Most trends are harmless symptoms of an ever-evolving society and culture, (fidget spinners, low carb diets, neon colors) but when they start to affect how we care for ourselves, they can become real issues.

Recently, do-it-yourself teeth whitening has been a “trendy” subject, so let’s more closely examine a few of the more popular methods.


Charcoal Versus Tooth Enamel A Facebook Favorite

As unlikely as it seems to rub black powder on your teeth and expect them to become whiter, the basis behind the concept does make some sense.

Charcoal is exceptionally absorbent and porous and has even been used even in hospitals to harmlessly neutralize toxins. In theory, it could do the equivalent for your teeth.

Nevertheless, charcoal isn’t just porous it’s also quite abrasive. While it disrupts bacterial populations and absorbs damaging compounds from your mouth, it also often scrapes away your precious tooth enamel, causing more harm than good.

Until we have more data about the effects of charcoal on your teeth, it’s safer to pass on this home remedy.


Lemon Juice: Dissolving Stains Or Destroying Teeth?

The hardest substance in your body is tooth enamel, but it is remarkably sensitive to acid erosion. Your saliva does a great job of keeping the pH in your mouth adjusted to defend your enamel, but anytime you eat or drink something acidic, that pH balance is disturbed, and your teeth become vulnerable to damage.

Utilizing lemon juice to whiten your teeth is likely to produce a lot of enamel erosion, and frankly, once your enamel is gone, it’s gone forever.

We have seen people who actually suck on lemons thinking it is whitening their teeth. When we see this, it looks like bulimia. Bulimics vomit after eating; it is an eating disorder that is relatively common. The stomach acid eats the enamel from their teeth. Sucking on lemons eats the enamel in the same way bulimia does.

Oil Pulling: An Old-fashioned Folk Remedy

Oil pulling requires swishing oil (typically coconut, olive oil, sunflower, or sesame) around in your mouth for fifteen to twenty minutes. Advocates of oil pulling maintain it has various health benefits, including teeth whitening, but the American Dental Association doesn’t endorse it because there is no scientific evidence to support these claims.

The claims of oil pulling on health are big and broad, but at least this one doesn’t seem to harm the teeth.


Strawberries And Bananas

Strawberries do contain some citric acid, but they also include malic acid (especially when ripe), which can actually give your teeth a whiter appearance. Bananas contain magnesium, potassium, and manganese, all of which can help remove surface stains and support healthier teeth.

So these two DIY teeth whiteners may truly offer some benefit! However, both of these fruits still contain sugar, so you should still brush your teeth with dentist-recommended toothpaste after having them.

Are you curious about those whitening mouthpieces that emit blue light you see on YouTube and Facebook? Watch the video below to learn whether or not they’re actually useful:


Stick To The Science Of Teeth Whitening

Trends, like brushing with charcoal toothpaste or using lemon juice as mouthwash, will come and (hopefully) go, and sometimes we will find home remedies that do have lasting, undamaging benefits, like strawberries and bananas, but the genuine benefits to our teeth will always come from dentist-approved methods.

Glo whitening and Opalescence are scientifically proven to work and have been approved by the FDA as safe.

Good Dental Habits Win Every Time

  • Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Avoid sugary drinks and snacks
  • Schedule regular dental appointments

If all of these good habits aren’t keeping your teeth white enough, talk to us about safe, professional whitening options.

Healthy smiles are beautiful smiles! Give our office a call with any questions or to make that whitening appointment! We are currently running a whitening special for $200 call 423-899-1112 for details. McOmie Family Dentistry!

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