It seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles and blog posts claim that whitening can be cheap, easy, natural and, in some cases, unpleasant.
It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without advice from a dentist; however, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, look at the truth behind some of the most recent teeth whitening fads.
Fad 1: Activated charcoal
Activated charcoal in toothpaste may help remove surface stains on your teeth, but it is more abrasive than regular toothpaste and offers no tooth decay protection. A British Dental Journal study shows long-term use can abrade the enamel on your teeth and cause increased sensitivity.
Fad 2: Fruits
Some celebrities have jumped on the fruit-paste bandwagon, prompting people to rub strawberries on their teeth to make them whiter. Others use pineapple, citrus peels and even swish with apple cider vinegar.
However, science does not back up these claims. One recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (a known whitener) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth.
Fad 2: Hydrogen Peroxide
Many types of in-office and home teeth whitening contain hydrogen peroxide, it is a special formulation made just for teeth whitening. Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will not whiten your teeth, but it may irritate your gums and mouth. It can also be dangerous if it is accidentally swallowed.
Fad 3: Oil Pulling
Oil pulling rose to fame during the coconut oil craze in the mid-2000s, but it is an ancient folk remedy. It involves swishing a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, or olive, in the mouth and drawing it between teeth for up to 20 minutes a day. The thought is that oil molecules will stick to the oil in membranes of mouth bacteria. Evidence that this works is purely anecdotal. There is no scientific proof that oil pulling whitens teeth, but experts do not see harm in the practice.
If you want safe, sure methods of achieving whiter, brighter teeth, our San Diego doctor can offer you recommendations best suited for your needs. For more information about teeth whitening, contact our experienced team of dental professionals.