As we enter the holiday season, we know everyone is trying to put their best self forward preparing to gather around with loved ones. A good-looking smile with even teeth can be a major confidence booster and helps to make a lasting impression on others whether on a date, at a reunion, or even in an interview.
Each year millions and even billions of dollars are spent on products to help people achieve that beautiful smile. There are hundreds of products and methods spreading across the internet claiming to get your teeth to “pearlfection” and some people have even resulted in making their own concoctions to save on money. However, when it comes to dental care, doing it on your own can have dangerous and disastrous results.
Recently videos and posts of how to perform “do-it-yourself” or DIY dental procedures have increased and resulted in a rise of patients suffering from DIY procedures gone wrong. These are at a minimum, problematic trends that can have serious consequences. We’d like to take time to talk to you about some dangerous but unfortunately common trends in hopes that you will come to see through their false promises and come to us with your dental desires saving yourself the trouble and toothache.
“Do-It-Yourself” Teeth Whitening
The widespread desire for whiter teeth in today’s society combined with internet culture has given rise to several DIY whitening methods. You can easily do a quick search on the internet and find tons of ‘promising’ Hollywood like smiles from supposed DIY tooth whitening methods. While some of these tricks might seem like great life hacks, often these ‘recipes’ are more for disaster rather than success.
- Oil Pulling – Oil pulling is a folk remedy and while in some cases it has been effective in slight degrees, there is no scientific evidence or consistent track record to back up its claim for health benefits, especially when it comes to whitening teeth.
- Lemon Juice – Lemon juice is probably one of the worst ideas we have seen in terms of teeth whitening as you are essentially brushing your teeth with strong citric acid. Any acid is harmful to your teeth, but a strong acid such as lemon juice applied directly to your teeth will strip your teeth of its protective layers and enamel. Tooth enamel is highly vulnerable to acids and enamel loss is permanent. We strongly urge you against this method as it can cause permanent damage to your teeth.
- Activated Charcoal – Activated charcoal has been exceptionally popular recently and though it may absorb stains and toxins from your teeth, there are strong debates on its brightening qualities. Charcoal is an abrasive substance that might scrape away enamel as it removes stains from your teeth leaving them in a dangerous position. Hold off on buying any products that are not ADA approved and do not try to make your own mix.
- Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide – These two household products can often be found in pantries or medicine cabinets in most homes. This DIY method came from the idea that because hydrogen peroxide is used in professional whitening methods and baking soda is a common ingredient in many ADA approved toothpaste, that combining the two would be a safe option in terms of removing stains/whitening teeth. While both are used in ADA products and procedures, that does not mean they are safe chemicals to apply directly to your teeth unsupervised.
There is a delicate balance to avoid damaging teeth and soft tissues of your mouth when it comes to teeth whitening procedures. Only dental professionals have the knowledge, experience, training, and materials to properly whiten your teeth with safe, long-lasting results.
Your teeth will thank you for putting your trust in dental professionals at the office of Mark Friend, DMD when it comes to achieving your perfect smile. Bring your questions and desires with you to your next appointment and we will be sure to help you. Together, we will make a safe plan on how to achieve your best smile. In the meantime, keep up with good practices such as brushing and flossing daily and avoid foods, drinks, and other products that might stain or harm your teeth.