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Why Homemade Tooth Whitening Treatments Are a Bad Idea

Smiling Woman With White Teeth
You've heard of many at-home tooth whitening remedies and treatments and figure you'll give them a try. After all, most of the items used to whiten teeth at home, including lemon juice, baking soda, activated charcoal, and hydrogen peroxide, are right in your kitchen or bathroom cupboards and you won't have to go to the dentist for professional whitening treatments. What do you have to lose in whitening your teeth at home with homemade treatments?
You actually could lose a lot. Find out why homemade tooth whitening treatments are a bad idea by discovering the negative effects some products can have on your mouth or body.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal whitens smiles by literally sucking stains off teeth. Activated charcoal absorbs whatever the material touches, which means surface stains on the teeth can easily be pulled up with this black concoction.
What makes activated charcoal a bad idea is this: if you use activated charcoal substance or toothpaste every day, the material can cause you to actually absorb less of your daily vitamins or other medications. The substance can also alter how many minerals are in your saliva, which in turn puts your mouth at risk for bacterial invasion and dental decay.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent, often used in natural tooth whitening remedies. It’s highly acidic, so the juice will naturally wear down your tooth enamel.
When using lemon juice for tooth whitening, you put your teeth at risk for uneven bleaching and make your mouth more susceptible to canker sores. Heartburn is also a concern when using lemon juice for a tooth cleaning or whitening aide.
If you do use lemon juice to help whiten your teeth, add the juice to a non-flavored toothpaste or dilute the juice with water first. Never apply lemon juice directly to your teeth on its own. Like other juices, you should always rinse your mouth out with water after exposing your teeth to its acidity.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is actually good for your mouth as an oral rinse and is a common ingredient in whitening toothpastes and mouth washes. The peroxide works to flush away bacteria and germs that put your teeth and gums in danger. When hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with germs, it bubbles up, which creates a natural mouthwash that is highly cleansing.
The problem with hydrogen peroxide is this: using the first aid solution at full strength. Common hydrogen peroxide solutions are diluted to three percent already, but your mouth only needs about a third of that strength. Too strong hydrogen peroxide usages will result in irritated red gums, nausea, or worn-out tooth enamel.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and stain lifter, used in many ways around the house. For your teeth, baking soda is believed to lift and remove deep-set stains for a brighter smile and cleaner breath. However, baking soda can actually make stains worse by scratching tooth enamel and allowing stains greater opportunity to set. You also put yourself at risk of consuming too much sodium if you accidentally swallow any of the salty substance.
Baking soda is used in many toothpastes for its gritty texture and cleaning abilities. When using baking soda to whiten your teeth, never brush or rub the gritty substance into your tooth enamel, rather, allow the baking soda to set — apply a few drops of water to baking soda to create a paste — on tooth surfaces to gently remove debris and stains without scratching your tooth enamel.
Your dentist will explain the benefits of professional tooth whitening to you. Our team of specialists at Eastland Dental Center & Professional Dental Center will explain the benefits of professional tooth whitening over homemade remedies. Call us to schedule an appointment today.