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DIY Tooth Whitening

During the pandemic, many people attempted “do-it-yourself” (DIY) projects around the house. Since we couldn’t get out, you may have tried some DIY health projects as well! Listed below is our professional opinion on many of the purported ways to lighten your teeth and brighten your smile.

Baking Soda

Brushing your teeth with baking soda may remove surface stains on the teeth due to its abrasive action. It will not, however, enter deep into the teeth where pigmented molecules reside like professional bleaching gels. If you brush with straight baking soda, or with a toothpaste containing baking soda, limit it to once per week to prevent damage to tooth enamel.

White Strips

Store bought white strips may work as well, since they contain a weakened form of professional bleaching gel. The gel carriers are not customized to your teeth and may not cover all your teeth. As you wear them at night, they may slip off the teeth since they are “one size fits most.”

Whitening Pens

In my opinion, these do not work since the active ingredients are not in contact with the teeth for any length of time. After brushing on the teeth, the gel is almost immediately diluted by saliva, rendering it ineffective.

Whitening Toothpastes

These either contain baking soda, whitening agents, or both. Baking soda is addressed above, but those that rely on whitening agents such as carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are of limited use, in my opinion. To get deep into the tooth and react with pigmented element in the enamel, the active ingredients must be in contact with the teeth for several hours. Toothpaste is diluted by saliva and usually rinsed away at the time of use.

Light Activated Kits

There are no definitive studies that show that light activation helps in the tooth whitening procedure. This is strictly a marketing ploy. Sorry Gronk!

Oil Pulling

Pulling, or sucking oil through your teeth has its origins in other cultures. There is no evidence that this practice works to lighten teeth.

Activated Charcoal

Brushing your teeth with black dust to make them whiter. Sounds like it should work, right? I would imagine that after you rinse the black slurry off your teeth, they will look a LOT whiter. Save your money on this one.

While it is tempting to try treatments that are advertised as less expensive or enable you to avoid a dental visit, this is one area where it pays to seek professional treatment. We are happy to discuss our options to give you the smile your deserve. Give us a call and we’ll chat!

Dr. Michael Gillespie has practiced dentistry in Waynesville, NC for 27 years. The award-winning dental team has been named “Best Dentist” for many years. We’d love to show you why! Call us at 456-9007 to make an appointment.

Michael D. Gillespie, DDS

Michael D. Gillespie, DDS