10 Tooth Whitening Myths Debunked

1 February 2021

Having a dazzling white smile takes some work. While it might seem everyone around you was born with naturally white teeth, the truth is most people have teeth of varying colours, of which very few are what you would consider perfectly white. With so many teeth whitening products and tips available, it can be hard to know where to begin. When it comes to your teeth, you really want to avoid choosing the wrong tooth whitening products or “hacks”. To help you keep away from such scams, here are 10 tooth whitening myths debunked.

1. Baking soda whitens teeth

This myth can be especially misleading since there are several kinds of toothpaste on the market containing baking soda. However, if you try to use baking soda straight up on your teeth, what you will do is disrupt the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your mouth. This puts your teeth at risk for decay.

2. Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide whitens teeth

This is not only untrue, but also a dangerous thing to try. Because hydrogen peroxide is harsh on tissue, when it comes into contact with your gums, tongue, and cheeks, it causes a reaction similar to aging.

3. Whitening toothpaste is all you need

There just isn’t enough of the chemicals required in whitening toothpaste to effectively whiten your teeth. Whitening ingredients need at least 20 minutes in direct contact with your teeth to do any noticeable good. As well, many of these products contain abrasives that are not recommended for daily use.

4. Chewing whitening Gums whitens teeth

There aren’t enough whitening ingredients in whitening gums to affect the colour changes you would like to see.

5. At-home whitening gels are as good as professional whitening gels

Professional whitening gels contain a far higher level of whitening ingredients such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide than the at-home whitening types. They are stronger and, therefore, must be applied by your dentist so they are used and applied properly, safely, and effectively.

6. Always use the strongest whitening gel

As mentioned above, products with a higher content of whitening ingredients can be harmful if not used properly. In fact, if you think this is the best way to speed up the process, you will be sadly disappointed. Not only will you need to use the product again much sooner, but you can also experience very uncomfortable pain and sensitivity thanks to the high content of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide being improperly applied.

7. Teeth whitening is forever

If only this were true. Unfortunately, your teeth are just prone to staining. Over time, the food you eat and aging work together to discolour your teeth. While your teeth whitening (when done properly) will provide you the dazzling smile you desire, your day-to-day life will slowly start to stain or discolour your teeth again. Therefore, all whitening treatments, no matter how effective, will require touch-ups once you start to see the whiteness fade.

8. Strawberries and lemons whiten teeth

This little hack is actually true, but we do not advise it. The way this hack works is that natural acids erode the enamel of your teeth. When this happens, stains and yellowing can be removed, but at great cost to the health of your tooth enamel. This little whitening trick causes permanent damage to your teeth; so although the fruit is natural, it can cause serious harm just like harsh chemicals.

9. Anyone can use whitening products and treatments

Whitening gels are designed to work on natural teeth. If you have crowns or veneers, the gels will not remove stains from the surface. As a result, you can end up with mismatched tones on your teeth, which can look even worse than yellowed teeth. Your best resource is to discuss whitening with your dentist. We can whiten your natural teeth and then replace crowns, so they are colour matched. As well, children cannot use whitening products, as it can damage the tissue in their mouth.

10. You can use coconut oil to whiten teeth

Using coconut oil as a teeth whitener depends on a method called “oil pulling”. The idea is that by swishing the thick liquid around in your mouth, you can pull the stains from your teeth surface. It is an age-old practice, but unfortunately, it just doesn’t work.

The Bottom Line About Teeth Whitening

If you really want to enjoy a brilliantly white smile, you should speak to our team at Oakville Place Dental. We can review whitening treatments and decide if they are suitable for you. Our tooth bleaching procedure uses a high-concentration bleaching gel, which we apply using thin and well-fitted application trays. Each session lasts about 20 to 30 minutes and you will usually see results following each session. We also apply the bleaching gel in a manner that helps avoid tooth sensitivity. Following treatment, you can help keep your teeth white longer with these tips:

  • Avoid certain foods and drinks. Foods and drinks notorious for teeth staining include coffee, tea, red wine, curry, dark berries, and tomato-based sauces. You can avoid these foods to help keep your teeth from staining.

  • Use a straw. If you do enjoy beverages prone to staining, like red wine, try using a straw so you can help avoid the liquid touching your front teeth.

  • Rinse afterward. You can also rinse your mouth out with water immediately following eating or drinking staining foods.

  • Brush. Make sure you follow a strict dental hygiene regime, brushing twice a day, and flossing at least once a day. This helps remove plaque that can appear yellow.

  • Antiseptic mouthwash. Consider using an antiseptic mouthwash to rinse out your mouth at least once a day to kill plaque-causing bacteria.

  • Brush with a whitening toothpaste. Although this doesn’t do as good a job as a primary whitening solution, if you use a whitening toothpaste a few times a week, you can help remove surface stains. Use fluoride toothpaste the rest of the time to avoid too much abrasion.

  • Schedule touch-up treatments. Keep an eye on your teeth colour and give us a call if you feel you need a touch-up. The more tooth-staining food and drinks you enjoy, the quicker you’ll need touch-ups.

  • Don’t smoke. Smoking is not only bad for you, but it also stains your teeth.

If you are interested in tooth whitening in Oakville, speak to our team at Oakville Place Dental today.

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