Everyone wants a bright, white smile, but the truth is there are many things — from what we eat and drink to our age — that can cause our once pearly whites to transform into a dull, discolored look. You may have seen tons of DIY trends that promise to whiten your teeth quickly and easily, but your dentist in The Woodlands wants to warn you that some of these methods may do more harm than good.
One of the most popular and long-standing DIY tooth whitening trends is the kitchen staple- baking soda. While baking soda (scientifically known as sodium bicarbonate) can naturally whiten teeth, it may not be the best approach. Those who choose to use toothpaste that contains baking soda or make their own baking soda concoction may initially see a whiter smile but only for a short period of time. There are also risks associated with using baking soda because of its abrasive consistency. Brushing with baking soda regularly over time can begin to damage tooth enamel and put you at increased risk for sensitivity, decay, and cavities.
Another well-known at-home smile whitening treatment involves the use of lemon juice. Lemon juice’s claim to teeth whitening fame is that it’s natural. While that’s certainly true, your Woodlands dentist wants you to know that natural isn’t always the best. Lemon juice, for example, is very acidic and can wear away tooth enamel.
A relatively new DIY tooth whitening trend is activated charcoal or toothpastes containing activated charcoal. The thought behind using activated charcoal is that it will essentially pull the stains out of teeth and result in a whiter smile. Similarly to baking soda and lemon juice, activated charcoal may appear to brighten teeth a little bit, it doesn’t come without the risk of enamel damage. This is one reason activated charcoal and over-the-counter toothpastes have not been approved by the American Dental Association.
Nowadays you can walk down the toothpaste aisle in any grocery store and find so many products that claim to safely whiten teeth that it can make your head spin. One of those products are whitening pens that basically let users “color” on a whitening solution. Even though this smile whitening method may seem easy and really affordable, your results may be less than ideal. Whitening pens can commonly result in a streaky, uneven appearance. So even though whitening pens may seem like the best smile whitening treatment for you, it’s important to know that they may not give you the results you want. Additionally, since it’s very easy to accidentally apply the whitening solution to your gums, gum irritation is a very real possibility of a whitening pen.
The best way to whiten your teeth is to first talk with your dentist in The Woodlands. Based on your individual needs and desires, your dental team will be able to talk with you about how you can safely and successfully transform your look.