A COSMETIC DENTIST knows the best way to give patients the pearly-white smile they want, and some of the DIY whitening strategies we hear about raise serious alarms. WE OFFER A wide range of cosmetic dentistry treatments to patients in Huntsville area at William L. Ingram DMD because a good-looking smile with white, even teeth is a major confidence booster and really helps make a good first impression.
The widespread desire for whiter teeth in today’s society, combined with internet culture, has given rise to a number of popular do-it-yourself teeth whitening methods. While these might seem like great life hacks to try, many of them can actually do serious damage to our teeth.
Common DIY Whitening Trends
Over the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard about some of these trendy teeth-whitening approaches, such as activated charcoal, lemon juice, and oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient folk remedy, but there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims about its health benefits. Lemon juice is absolutely a bad idea, because you’re essentially applying a strong acid directly to your teeth. Tooth enamel is highly vulnerable to acid, and enamel loss is permanent.
While activated charcoal does indeed absorb stains and toxins (it is often used in hospital emergency rooms for cases of poisoning), those benefits are debatable when it comes to teeth, because charcoal is also abrasive, so it could be scraping away enamel even as it removes stains. Hold off on buying that tube of charcoal toothpaste until you see the ADA Seal of Acceptance, and definitely don’t mix up your own.
What About Peroxide and Baking Soda?
Another recent DIY whitening trend is using baking soda from the pantry and hydrogen peroxide from the medicine cabinet to bleach teeth. The logic behind this idea is that hydrogen peroxide is used in professional whitening and baking soda is present in many ADA-approved whitening toothpastes, and both have proven to be effective at removing stains.
It’s true that a cosmetic dentist uses these chemicals in whitening treatments, but there is a delicate balance to maintain. Too little of the chemicals won’t produce much of a whitening effect but too much of them can damage the enamel and the soft tissues of the mouth. Attempting at-home whitening with them is a recipe for trouble. Only a cosmetic dentist like Dr. Ingram has the knowledge, training, and materials needed to strike the right balance and produce good results.
Come to the Cosmetic Dentist for Whitening
Your teeth will thank you if you put your trust in dental professionals for your whitening needs rather than trying something risky at home, so bring your teeth whitening questions with you to your next appointment. Together, we can make a plan for how best to whiten your smile. In the meantime, the best things you can do to keep your smile healthy and bright are to keep up with your daily brushing and flossing habits, avoid foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, and don’t smoke.