DIY Teeth Whitening, Yay or Nay?


White teeth

Everyone wants white teeth. The bright white smile is a long-standing fashion trend, and if you spend any time on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen a number of “DIY Teeth Whitening” pins that guarantee to whiten your teeth at home for only pennies.  As with many things in life, most of these home whitening recipes are too good to be true.  Some of them may not do much to lighten the color of your teeth, and at worst, they can actively damage your teeth and gums.

One of the most common ingredients in these DIY recipes is hydrogen peroxide.  While hydrogen peroxide is an effective whitening agent, if you use too much you can actually damage your teeth and expose the yellow colored dentin underneath.  Dentin is a hard, yellow substance that surrounds the pulp at the center of your teeth.  It shows through the enamel, which is why most teeth appear slightly yellow.  Furthermore, hydrogen peroxide is extremely irritating to the stomach.  If you accidentally swallow it, you could be in for a bad tummy ache and a burning sensation in your throat.

Another popular ingredient in home whitening recipes is activated charcoal.  While not as potentially harmful or poisonous as using too much hydrogen peroxide, it is largely ineffective. Even after using it for several days most people see little to no improvement in the color of their teeth.

Ultimately, having whiter teeth isn’t worth the risk of doing permanent damage to your teeth. If you’re interested in a bright white smile, talk to us at your next dental check about what options are best for you.

Image from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry