Thanks to social media, finding do-it-yourself beauty tips has never been easier. The drawback, however, lies in the credibility of all this free advice. While bad makeup tutorials couldn’t do too much harm, following recipes for beauty D.I.Y.’s like teeth whitening can be dangerous without a proper background check. That’s why we consulted with two industry experts to uncover the truth behind some at-home whitening tricks frequently shared across the web.
Tip 1:“Swishing with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda will instantly whiten teeth and kill bacteria.”
What the Experts Say: While these ingredients have been used for years to whiten teeth, “They are certainly not as effective as in-office whitening solutions,” says Dunedin, FL, cosmetic dentist Mikel Hopkins, DDS. “Research has also found that continued use may cause oral cancer,” he adds. Atlanta cosmetic dentist Ronald Goldstein, DDS, says it’s best to use the combination in-office. “X-rays are necessary to locate your pulp tissue which will predict whether your teeth will be sensitive during or after treatment. And if the hydrogen peroxide concentration is too high, you put yourself at risk of injuring gum tissue.”
Tip 2: “Adding baking powder to pureed strawberry creates an all-natural berry paste that whitens teeth naturally.”
What the Experts Say: “There is no control or knowledge of what will and will not work,” says Dr. Goldstein. “An all natural berry paste is adding color to the teeth, not whitening them!” explains Dr. Hopkins.
Tip 3: “Swishing a solution of 75 percent lemon juice and 25 percent salt can brighten your smile instantly.“
What the Experts Say: Both Dr. Goldstein and Dr. Hopkins agree you should never use this combination because lemon juice is highly acidic. Extended exposure can erode and sometimes even permanently damage your tooth enamel.
So what about store-bought whitening techniques? When it comes to whitening toothpastes, Dr, Hopkins advises you “save your money.” Both cosmetic dentists agree these toothpastes have little to no effect given their miniscule whitening concentration and short exposure time to your teeth. As for store bought strips and trays, you may find yourself spending more as opposed to undergoing professional bleaching, which is far more effective and tends to yield longer lasting results.
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