Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Truth Behind DIY Teeth Whitening

Ask just about anyone and they know of a few DIY teeth whitening treatments. Maybe you've heard that scrubbing your teeth with a wet washcloth dipped in baking soda does the trick-and it works, but maybe a little too well. That kind of approach can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums, even wearing down the enamel for good. Worse, maybe you saw the Dr. Oz episode where it was recommended to mix some strawberries into that concoction. Strawberries are highly acidic and notorious teeth strainers, so not only will your smile have a red tinge, you'll also be helping in that enamel disappearing act.

Still interested in some cheap alternatives? Think twice before trying any of these quick fixes. Even if you don't ultimately opt for in-office whitening (which is the best and safest), at the very least you'll learn why such rugged approaches are a huge mistake:

1. Any Bleach Works, Right?

Absolutely not. Maybe you have some old custom trays left over from a dental procedure or you had a professional bleaching kit made but ran out of bleach. Never use any kind of bleach on your teeth except a product made specifically for teeth. Otherwise you're putting very harsh and toxic chemicals in your mouth. The best case scenario? You end up bleaching your gums with your teeth (not a pretty sight) or end up with an incredibly sensitive mouth.

2. Sharing Trays and Bleach

Does your roommate, friend or family member have a costly dental bleaching kit that they're willing to share? You're better off financing your own pro procedure or saving up until it's within your budget. Each dental-provided custom bleach tray is just that-custom. The tray isn't going to fit your mouth, which means you won't get anywhere near optimal results. Worse, the type of bleach and strength might be suitable for your friend, but not for you. Sharing isn't always caring, especially when it comes to teeth bleaching.

3. But Baking Soda Should Be Safe, Right?

This can be confusing because there are many quality toothpastes that proudly boast about their baking soda content. However, these products have been tested over and over again, and feature a very specific mixture that's safe for your teeth. You're not going to get the best or safest results if you just grab that box of baking soda out of the fridge and start scrubbing. Think of it like drinking a perfectly mixed cocktail vs. drinking straight vodka from the same sized container. You're going to get very different results.

4. About That Pro Polisher You Picked Up on eBay...

Here's the thing about dental tools: They need to be wielded by a dental professional. You might get lucky with an eBay-ed professional dental polisher, but 1) that's disgustingly unsanitary and 2) you don't know how to use it. Every person's mouth is different, and there are different tactics for various patients and types of polishers. You're better off spending that auction money on UltraDent Boost.

Teeth whitening is a medical procedure, a skill and an art. If you're not up for an in-office whitening treatment, at the very least see your dentist about a prescription for a more effective option. You only have one set of (natural) teeth. Protect them.

Jillynn Stevens is a writer and researcher. She is the Director of Digital Content Marketing for Be Locally SEO where she enjoys helping clients expand and improve their businesses through articles, blogs, website content and more. For the whitest teeth and brightest smile, see Skinner Dental serving people small to tall in Utah's Salt Lake Valley.
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