5 At-Home Whitening Methods That Could Be Doing More Harm Than Good

At-home whitening might not be the best solution

A brighter smile is something that most people strive for. In fact, a recent survey revealed that more than half of Americans cover their mouths while laughing due to insecurity about their smiles. Also, according to statistics, 35 to 37 million Americans per year get their teeth whitened.

However, people don’t always look for solutions in the right place. Instead of consulting an aesthetic family dentistry office, they turn to Facebook, TikTok, and other platforms for advice on whitening.

Avoid these at-home whitening methods.

These solutions promise results but could actually be doing more harm than good. If you see any of these 5 at-home whitening tricks on social media, you should avoid them and focus on more reliable whitening from your dentist.

1. Lemon Juice

Using lemon juice to whiten your teeth sounds reasonable at first. It’s all-natural, and many cleaning products are lemon-scented. However, there’s simply no evidence that applying lemon juice to your teeth will brighten your smile.

In fact, lemon juice is bad for your teeth. Like other citrus fruit juices, lemon juice is acidic. While fruit is perfectly healthy, you don’t want juices to sit on your teeth. The acid weakens and erodes enamel, just as consuming more harmful drinks, like soda, does.

Instead of taking a risk on these kinds of “all-natural” solutions, it’s best to stick to proven methods from your family dentist.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another potential teeth-whitening solution that has been making the rounds on social media. Vinegar is widely used in many DIY cleaning methods, although it’s more often for getting stains out of carpet than trying to whiten teeth.

While vinegar might prove effective in dealing with a variety of stains, there’s no evidence that it does so for your teeth. Vinegar is just acetic acid and water, so its acidity can also impact the strength of your enamel.

Apple cider vinegar is likely even worse than other types of vinegar due to its higher sugar content. The combination of both acidity and sugar is the perfect environment for tooth decay.

3. Baking Soda

Unlike many of the other solutions you’ll find on social media, whitening with baking soda has some basis in fact. Baking soda can help remove surface stains from your teeth, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do so.

Baking soda achieves whitening through abrasion. Essentially, the rough particles provide effective cleaning—like using a scouring pad to clean stubborn dishes. However, that same abrasion makes it less safe than other solutions provided by your family dentist.

If you use baking soda regularly, you will steadily wear away at the enamel of your teeth, which can cause sensitivity and compromise the health of your teeth. The abrasion that makes it a good cleaning agent also wears down your teeth, so other solutions are recommended.

4. DIY Hydrogen Peroxide

When you visit your dentist to find an aesthetic family dentistry solution for whitening, that solution will likely include the use of hydrogen peroxide whitening gel. This active ingredient provides powerful whitening, but only when handled in the right way.

If you see anyone on social media recommending using any hydrogen peroxide products that aren’t specifically approved for teeth whitening, don’t use them. You can cause significant harm by using the wrong concentration.

Products for medical use, hair bleaching, and cleaning all have different concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and can be dangerous when used incorrectly. When you visit your dentist for teeth whitening, they provide the correct concentration for safe and effective results.

5. Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is another supposed DIY whitening method that takes a different approach than the others. 

The idea behind oil pulling is that bacteria and other contaminants that you can’t rinse out with water can instead be rinsed out with various types of cooking oils. The theory is that bacteria are attracted to the structure of the oil and are then removed from your body when you spit the oil out. 

However, the method simply doesn’t deliver results. While it likely doesn’t cause significant harm due to the lack of acidity, sugar, or abrasion, it won’t make your teeth any whiter, either. Instead, stick to trusted aesthetic family dentistry solutions.

Instead of at-home whitening methods, find a safe and effective whitening solution.

These DIY methods are liable to leave you with permanently damaged enamel and are unlikely to provide you with real results. To safely whiten your teeth, you should consult your trusted family dentist for methods that really work.

You can also find some effective options on store shelves. ADA-approved, over-the-counter whitening kits and whitening strips can offer some improvement, but these treatments take time and the results are unlikely to match your expectations. Instead, take advantage of aesthetic family dentistry solutions for the white smile you have been dreaming of.

MASC Dental Studio offers professional in-studio and at-home whitening options. With our expert care in a comfortable environment, you can take advantage of clinical-strength whitening for fast and noticeable results. Contact our office today to find out which solution is right for you.