Perils of DIY Teeth Whitening: Do you know the risks of home whitening?

The internet is full of articles about how to whiten your teeth with “homemade,” “natural,” or “DIY” concoctions. Some of these whitening methods are, at best, benign, while others are, at worst, dangerous to your health. The best way to avoid the perils of DIY teeth whitening is not to trust homemade solutions or recipes. Attempting to whiten your teeth without professional products or supervision may result in chemical burns to your gums, tooth damage, and bleach burns. And many of the most popular store-bought at-home teeth whitening kits are dangerous when improperly administered.

Discover the risks of attempting to whiten your teeth using homemade DIY teeth whitening instructions. Find out why the information about DIY whitening is misleading and dangerous. And learn about the safety and efficacy differences between DIY and professional in-office teeth whitening treatments.

Do you know the risks of DIY teeth whitening?

At-home DIY teeth whitening methods are alluring because they promise to brighten your teeth for free or on-the-cheap. You must first remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. And that is precisely the case when it comes to DIY teeth whitening. If you implement the ideas you read on the internet from an article about DIY teeth whitening and homemade whitening treatments, your health is at risk.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to clean the surface stains off your teeth and brighten your smile. But there is vital information that the proponents of DIY teeth whitening seem to always omit from their publications. So, before you try any of the techniques suggested elsewhere on the internet, learn about the risks and talk to your dentist.

Don’t Use Baking Soda to Make Homemade Toothpaste

Many articles use the existence of baking soda in commercial dental care products as a license to use it in homemade toothpaste. The fact is that baking soda is a strong abrasive that can severely irritate your gum tissue and strip the enamel from your teeth. Baking soda is abrasive, and using too much will weaken your teeth’ enamel over time.

The enamel of your teeth is a protective layer on the surface of your teeth that acts like a shell. But, there is only so much abrasion that your enamel can take from brushing with baking soda before it wears away. Once the protective layer of enamel is gone, you are at a much greater risk of developing cavities, gum disease, and dental discoloration.

Charcoal and Charcoal-Based Cleaners are Abrasive

Charcoal is a popular teeth whitening product but presents the same risks as baking soda. Charcoal-based teeth cleaning and whitening products work by scrubbing the stains from your teeth simultaneously with your enamel layer. Immediately after using charcoal for teeth whitening, you may see results. However, new stains will appear as soon as you drink or eat anything with a strong color, like red wine or coffee. Over time, your tooth enamel will disappear, and surface stains will more readily appear and become harder to remove. Once your enamel is gone, it doesn’t come back.

Commercial Teeth Whitening Kits

Over-the-counter whitening kits, gels, pens, and strips are ineffective and dangerous if misused. In the long run, these products result in mismatched coloration between the surface of teeth and crevices between teeth.

Commercial products contain a lower amount of the active whitening agent (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) than your dentist uses in a professional in-office teeth whitening session. Even though it is a lower concentration of the active agent, it is harmful to your gums and soft tissue. So, commercial whitening products avoid the area between your teeth because the peroxide agent could harm your gums. As a result, long-term at-home whitening often produces abnormally bright areas while other areas are unaffected.

On the other hand, manipulating the whitening products to penetrate between your teeth can result in chemical burns to your oral soft tissue. Even when customers strictly follow the instructions and safety precautions for store-bought whitening products, it is often impossible to refrain from contacting your gums with the hydrogen or carbamide peroxide whitening agent.

Citric Acids Strip the Enamel from Your Teeth

Citric acid softens your enamel if it remains in contact with your teeth for a prolonged period. Proponents of using strawberries or pineapple to whiten teeth are misinformed and misleading with the information they present. Using a citric agent to brush or clean your teeth will strip the enamel as quickly as charcoal or baking soda. The trick to your dental health, like most things, is moderation.

You don’t have to avoid eating foods with citric for fear of enamel loss as long as your consumption is moderated. Keep your enamel safe by washing down highly acidic foods with a swig of water. Citric acid will damage your teeth if left in contact for an extended period, so enjoy your snack, but don’t try to use your favorite fruit to brighten your smile.

Your Hydrogen Peroxide is Not Mouthwash or Effective for Teeth Whitening

Hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient in dental care products, and your dentist might have told you about the importance of getting an in-office hydrogen peroxide treatment. None of that, however, means that you should rinse your mouth with hydrogen peroxide from the local drugstore. Your dentist uses a stronger hydrogen peroxide concentration than is available over-the-counter. What you have access to at your local store is not strong enough to make any difference in the color of your teeth. And in fact, it is more likely to cause gum irritation than to have a whitening effect.

Now You Know the Risks of DIY Teeth Whitening

The best way to brighten your smile from the comfort of your home is to improve your oral hygiene routine. Begin your routine by flossing, then brush, and end with mouthwash. Brush twice, rinse twice, and floss once a day. Do not rinse with mouthwash before brushing your teeth because it makes your enamel vulnerable to abrasion. Swish a fluoridated mouthwash for 30 seconds and refrain from eating or drinking for a half-hour afterward.  

Talk to your general or cosmetic dentist if you want to whiten your teeth safely and effectively. Professional teeth whitening treatments take as little as an hour and will brighten your smile by up to eight shades in a single session. Call our office to schedule your consultation and teeth whitening session.