In pursuit of a brighter smile, many individuals turn to home remedies, such as brushing their teeth with baking soda, to whiten them. However, apart from their cost-effectiveness and convenience, these solutions may not offer any other benefits to you. We examine the effectiveness of these DIY approaches and the potential problems they may pose to help you decide whether you should be using home remedies or turning to professional treatments for teeth whitening.
1. Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
Besides being used in baking to help bread and cake rise, baking soda also often serve as a cleaning agent when unclogging pipes, cleaning bathrooms, and even whitening your teeth. Although it does work in removing dirt, baking soda cannot protect your teeth as well as fluoride toothpaste can. In fact, it does not contain the fluoride you need to help repair and strengthen teeth, and prevent cavities.
Baking soda is also relatively abrasive, which means that it will wear down your tooth enamel—the substance that protects your teeth from damages, cavities and decay—over time if used too vigorously or frequently.
2. Oil Pulling
Another home remedy used for teeth whitening is oil pulling—a practice that involves swishing oil in the mouth for several minutes to clean teeth and promote oral health. According to some advocates, oil pulling is supposed to whiten teeth effectively, remove bacteria, prevent cavities, and even treat tooth decay. However, there is no clear evidence suggesting that oil pulling can make a difference in the colour of your teeth. There is even a potential risk of accidentally inhaling or aspirating the oil during the process, which can lead to respiratory problems or pneumonia, as well as the risk of oil contamination, which can cause oral infections or gastrointestinal issues.
You’ll probably experience better results with a safe and proper teeth whitening kit purchased from a teeth whitening dental clinic.
3. Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal can bind to surface stains and dirt on your teeth, bringing them along when you wash away the activated charcoal. While it does clean your teeth, it does not whiten them thoroughly, and is not a solution for discolouration and stains that occur deeper in your teeth.
Activated charcoal is also abrasive in nature, which can erode your tooth enamel. However, if you’re looking to just whiten the surface of your teeth, fluoride toothpastes containing activated charcoal can be an ideal, safer alternative. Otherwise, for more severe stains and discolouration, professional teeth whitening treatments at dental clinics are recommended.
4. Rubbing Acidic Fruits on Teeth
Rubbing acidic fruits, such as lemons or oranges, on teeth is a common home remedy some people believe can whiten teeth. Unfortunately, this does nothing for your teeth apart from the removal of plaque due to the rubbing motion.
Acidic fruits also contain citric acid that can erode your tooth enamel and make it more susceptible to staining and discolouration, as well as compromise the teeth’s appearance and integrity. The fruits may also contain natural sugars that can contribute to tooth decay and cavities.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Last on this list, and the only teeth whitening home remedy that is slightly effective, is apple cider vinegar. However, it isn’t safe. Even when diluted, apple cider vinegar is highly acidic. And even though it can have a bleaching effect on your teeth to remove stains, it can erode your tooth enamel, ultimately making your teeth prone to more stains. It can even cause oral irritation and sensitivity, leading to gum inflammation, soreness, or a burning sensation.
If you’d like to achieve whiter teeth, professional teeth whitening treatments offered by dental clinics are your best bet. While the teeth whitening price may be slightly on the costlier side, it offers you a safe and effective way to brighten your teeth. Alternatively, many dental clinics that do teeth whitening also offer at-home kits that you can use to whiten teeth within the comforts of your home.
Regardless of which teeth whitening option you choose, Brightside Dental has a solution for you. We are the first dental clinic in Singapore dedicated to whitening teeth. Find out more about our teeth whitening treatments here.