Whitening your teeth is one way to look younger, feel better, and improve your smile. Recent years have seen a rise in the popularity of teeth whitening, and with that has come an equal rise in the number of horror stories about people who have tried various things only to find that they are dangerous and ineffective. Here you will learn about what others have tried.
Chlorine bleach whitens clothes. It can get grody stains out of socks and keep your undershirts looking new. Why wouldn't it work for your teeth? Well, for one, it can eat away at your gums. Bleach dissolves soft tissue, and that's exactly what your gums are. There is a reason the warning label on bleach says not to get it on your skin.
Household bleach also damages your enamel and dentin, which are the outer two layers of your teeth. Sure, it can get them whiter, but it can also leave your mouth in significantly worse condition.
You've seen your mom pour this substance over many a boo-boo with no apparent harm, so it must be safe to rinse with, right? Wrong! Hydrogen peroxide might remove stains from clothes, it might kill germs in cuts and scrapes, it might be an ingredient in commercial teeth whitening products, and it might not be as toxic as bleach, but you should definitely still avoid using it as a whitening agent.
Over time, peroxide does much of the same damage as bleach in your mouth. It can irritate your gums, break down your enamel, and disrupt the healthy bacterial balance in your mouth. Without a thriving colony of healthy bacteria in your mouth, you are more prone to infections and the dreaded bacteria that is responsible for most tooth decay.
Alright, so household chemicals are out as whitening agents, but it's perfectly safe to brush with a whitening toothpaste, right? Wrong again, unfortunately. Some whitening toothpastes have come under fire lately because they are likely to deposit tiny particles of plastic under your gum line, creating an ideal setup for infection, or because they wear away enamel over time.
Not all whitening toothpastes are created equal. If you're going to start using a whitening toothpaste, be aware of which ones contain plastic, and avoid them. You should also be aware that some whitening toothpastes can increase sensitivity, so be prepared for that. As an added aside, you should beware of the risks of using a whitening toothpaste long term. Most such products work by using tiny abrasive particles to scrub off surface stains, and that can wear away enamel if you use them long enough.
What Can You Use?
You've already read a lot about what you shouldn't do to whiten your teeth at home, but what does that leave? There are a few safe, natural alternatives that you can do to give your smile a little something extra.
- Brush your teeth after eating or drinking, especially after staining foods like coffee, wine and beets. This prevents stains in the first place.
- Use coconut oil to perform an oil pulling. Basically, you swish coconut oil around in your mouth for a few minutes, then spit it out. Be prepared, some say it really does pull out toxins and stains, and can be gross when you spit it out.
- Eat acidic foods. This does your body good on many levels, not just getting your teeth whiter. Acidic foods that are good for teeth whitening include apples, strawberries, lemons, and oranges, all of which are packed with vitamins and minerals.
The results won't be the same as a professional whitening, but it's possible to see some small improvement.
The bottom line is that in order to get great results, you're going to have to visit a qualified dentist and have your teeth whitened professionally. At home fixes can cause harm, or take forever to work. Stop wasting time and money and make an appointment for your professional teeth whitening.