Don't Try This at Home: The Internet's Most Dangerous Teeth Whitening Remedies
If you dream of a whiter smile but your budget is tight, you might have wondered whether it is possible to skip the dentist's chair and whiten your teeth at home. While online blogs and websites offer plenty of home remedies for stained teeth, not all of them are a safe alternative to professional teeth whitening by a cosmetic dentist. Here are three teeth whitening tricks that should come with a "do not try this at home" warning.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Health bloggers praise apple cider vinegar as a cure for everything from the common cold to digestive problems. Some even suggest using it as mouthwash as a natural method of whitening your teeth. However, dentists advise against this method of teeth whitening. Apple cider vinegar has a pH of 3.075, which is much more acidic than the pH of 5.5 at which acid erosion starts to wear away tooth enamel. Rinsing your mouth with apple cider vinegar is likely to speed up acid erosion, leading to tooth sensitivity. Your teeth could even end up looking less white as the erosion exposes the dark-coloured inner part of the tooth.
2. Lemon Juice and Baking Soda
Another popular home remedy for stained teeth is to mix baking soda and fresh lemon juice into a paste and smear it all over the teeth. Unfortunately, this remedy is also likely to increase your risk of acid erosion, due to the citric acid in the lemon juice. Baking soda is also highly abrasive and could leave small scratches in the surface of your enamel, which could leave you more vulnerable to stains in future.
Some home remedies steer clear of citrus fruits and instead advocate using strawberries to whiten teeth. The idea is that the malic acid in the berries will remove stains if you crush them up into a paste and apply it to your teeth. However, a study carried out at the University of Iowa showed that this method weakens tooth enamel and has no effect on the whiteness of teeth.
How to Whiten Teeth Safely
The safe way to whiten your teeth is to book a teeth whitening treatment with a cosmetic dentist. Rather than relying on acids, professional dentists use hydrogen peroxide to safely strip stains from tooth enamel. They carefully control the duration and intensity of the treatment to ensure that your tooth enamel remains strong and healthy.