From lemons and baking soda to strawberry paste, websites abound with remedies for stained teeth. However, these whitening home treatments are no match for teeth whitening carried out by a professional cosmetic dentist. As well as being relatively ineffective, so-called 'natural' teeth whitening treatments could seriously damage your teeth. Here are three remedies you should stay away from in order to protect your teeth.
1. Strawberries: Not So Sweet for Teeth
Dental researchers have tested one 'natural' teeth whitening home remedy to assess its safety and efficacy. Some websites recommend crushing strawberries and mixing it with baking soda to form a paste that you can smear over your teeth to whiten them. The theory is that malic acid in the fruit dissolves stains.
Unfortunately, the claims made about this sweet treatment are too good to be true. A study conducted at the University of Iowa showed that this treatment does not significantly change the colour of teeth. In fact, the strawberry paste weakens the enamel that helps to protect teeth against decay.
2. Lemons: Too Acidic to Be Safe
According to Dr. Oz, a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice can strip stains from your teeth. However, dentists warn that this highly acidic solution can also erode natural tooth enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable to decay.
Ironically, thin enamel can actually be a cause of discoloured teeth, as it allows the yellow inner part of the tooth to show through. Therefore, by using this dangerous home remedy, you could actually end up making your teeth less white in the long run.
3. Coconut Oil: Safe but Useless
Today, coconut oil is recommended for everything from conditioning hair to cooking. Some people practice a technique called oil pulling, which involves using coconut oil as a mouth rinse.
Proponents of oil pulling claim it can remove stains from teeth in addition to improving oral health, but cosmetic dentists claim that rinsing with oil is unlikely to be any more effective than rinsing with plain water. Save your money and stick to your usual oral hygiene routine of daily brushing and flossing.
How to Safely Whiten Your Smile
If you are looking for a safe and effective way of getting a whiter smile, the best option is to consult a cosmetic dentist. Professional teeth whitening is suitable for most people and can produce dramatic results. It is also a very safe procedure when it is carried out by an experienced dentist.