These days, it’s easy to find a myriad of advice and instructions posted on the internet in blogs and other social media platforms for all sorts of DIY projects ranging from painting, construction and car repair to even haircuts and other beauty remedies. However, according to Dr. Dirk Thompson, our Calgary dentist, when it comes to your dental health, and in particular, whitening your teeth, you should know the facts before trying any home remedies on your pearly whites. Our Calgary dentist explains below.
NATURAL DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN HEALTHY
One of the most common posts seen by our Calgary dentist are recommendations for “naturally” whitening your teeth. This is not surprising as teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures asked about at our Calgary dentist office. In these DIY remedies, the natural components of the teeth whitening are often items found in most peoples’ pantries, including spices, oils, fruits and scrubs.
However, our Calgary dentist reminds us that, just because a product is “natural” does not necessarily mean that it is meant to be or should be used on your pearly whites. More importantly, according to our Calgary dentist, many of these “natural” products can actually do more harm than good to your teeth and have little or no effect on your teeth’s colour shading.
DIY TEETH WHITENING WITH FOOD
One of the most common suggestions our Calgary dentist sees for DIY teeth whitening is using fruits and other foods that are naturally acidic, such as lemons and apple cider vinegar, to scrub your teeth with. Other suggestions seen by our Calgary dentist have been to scrub your teeth with foods that contain digestive enzymes such as pineapples or mangos.
Although our Calgary dentist recommends that you maintain a healthy diet, including a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, these fruits should not be used as a teeth whitener. Lemons, oranges, and vinegar are naturally very acidic. If you scrub your pearly whites with these types of foods, our Calgary dentist warns that you are putting your teeth at risk for wearing down the important enamel layer of your teeth, which is the hard, outer, thin coating of your teeth. When your enamel layer wears down, your risk of cavities and teeth sensitivity increases, which could require additional treatment from your Calgary dentist.
Our Calgary dentist’s verdict: Keep your lemons in your lemonade.
DIY TEETH SCRUBS
Another so-called home remedy seen by our Calgary dentist is to make a paste from baking soda and scrub your teeth with this paste.
Baking soda is a very abrasive substance. According to our Calgary dentist, scrubbing your teeth with baking soda or any other material that is abrasive can also damage and wear away your enamel. Once your enamel starts to wear away, it exposes the next layer of your tooth which is the dentin. The dentin layer of your tooth is a softer tissue, yellow in colour. When you wear your enamel layer away exposing the dentin layer, you may actually make your teeth look more yellow in colour.
Our Calgary dentist’s verdict: Baking soda is for scrubbing your sink, not your teeth.
Patients have also asked our Calgary dentist whether swishing their mouth with coconut oil or scrubbing their teeth with spices such as turmeric can whiten their teeth. According to our Calgary dentist and the American Dental Association, at this time there is no reliable scientific evidence that oil pulling or brushing your teeth with turmeric will whiten your teeth.
Our Calgary dentist’s verdict: Don’t waste your spices.
Our Calgary Dentist's Simple Advice for A Healthy and Beautiful Smile
For pearly whites that are both healthy and beautiful, our Calgary dentist has some simple recommendations to follow, including the following:
- Maintain a consistent oral healthcare routine that includes brushing your teeth at least two times per day to remove any surface staining;
- Floss your teeth at least once per day;
- Use a toothpaste that is recommended by your Calgary dentist or the Canadian Dental Association;
- Visit your Calgary dentist for regular dentist check-ups and teeth cleanings;
- Maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables;
- Make sure you are getting sufficient calcium in your diet;
- If you smoke or use tobacco, ask your physician or Calgary dentist about smoking cessation programs that can help you kick the habit;
- Use a teeth whitening product that is recommended by your Calgary dentist, including at home teeth whitening kits and in-office teeth whitening. By using a teeth whitening system approved by your Calgary dentist, you can be assured that it is safe for your teeth and an effective teeth whitening product;
- Limit your consumption of teeth staining foods such as coffee, tea, colas and red wine; and
- Protect your and your children’s teeth for dental trauma by always wearing a mouthguard while participating in sporting activities where there is a risk of face, mouth or dental trauma. If you or your child experiences dental trauma, call your Calgary dentist immediately as fast action may improve the outcome.
This blog post written by our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S., is for informational purposes only. It is not to be taken or used as a substitute for dental, medical or other professional advice, treatment or diagnosis. Always ask your dentist, physician or other healthcare professional for advice before altering your diet or healthcare routine. Individual patient needs and oral healthcare concerns vary so please consult your dentist for more information about your specific dental health requirements.
Copyright 2021: Dirk A. Thompson Professional Corporation operating as Advance Your Health Dental. Dr. Dirk A. Thompson, D.D.S., is a general dentist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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