A smile conveys your feelings. However, you could feel uncomfortable showing the world your smile if your teeth are yellow, stained, or otherwise unsightly.
You’re not alone either. In 2020, more than 37 million Americans used teeth-bleaching products.
We turn to dentist Anne Clemons, DMD, to find out what treatments are risk-free to use at home amid the plethora of new products and at-home cures to maintain those pearly whites in great condition.
If you want to whiten your teeth, here are a few popular at-home treatments.
1. Hydrogen peroxide
A natural bleaching substance called hydrogen peroxide can be used to whiten teeth. In the chemical process of bleaching, color-causing molecules are broken down and their bonds are changed or removed using an oxidative chemical. Gum inflammation and tooth sensitivity are possible side effects.
According to Dr. Clemons, bleaching is primarily focused on altering how the tooth appears to be white. The only thing that will actually remove those fundamental stains is bleaching.
When hydrogen peroxide is present in items like toothpaste and mouthwash, it is usually safe to use; nonetheless, it is important to pay attention to the dosage.
According to Dr. Clemons, concentrations might differ greatly. “Look for something that’s been formulated specifically for dental use because you’re going to have a more controlled percentage of it.”
If you want to whiten your teeth at home safely and effectively, Clemons advises utilizing whitening strips or gel rather than pure hydrogen peroxide, which is not advised. Just make sure to adhere to the suggested usage times and avoid going overboard.
How long the peroxide is in contact with the tooth “gives you a good outcome,” she claims. In comparison to toothpaste or mouthwash, “something like a gel or a strip that’s held on the tooth for a longer period of time will have better results.”
2. Baking soda
The trusted pantry component is useful for numerous things, including teeth whitening. But once more, Dr. Clemons advises searching for baking soda-containing dental products.
Baking soda is good since it’s actually less abrasive than a lot of other ingredients, according to her. It is a little bit kinder on the teeth when compared to other whitening toothpaste because it lacks the same amount of grit.
In fact, Dr. Clemons asserts that toothpaste prepared with baking soda is superior to a number of other types of toothpaste in terms of its ability to remove stains.
Make sure you’re still getting fluoride when using any of these toothpaste, she advises. “Getting at least two daily applications of toothpaste is one of the major advantages of using one.
3. Oil pulling
Oil pulling is a customary Indian activity that can be time-consuming and may not produce the desired results.
Dr. Clemons states, “I haven’t seen any good evidence that it will whiten teeth.”
One tablespoon of oil, such as sesame, coconut, or sunflower, is used in the procedure, which should be done for 15 to 20 minutes each day. The idea is that the oil cleans your teeth in addition to your teeth.
According to Dr. Clemons, oil pulling is not a replacement for maintaining clean teeth. It could be used with brushing and flossing, but it won’t replace them.
4. Whitening strips or trays
Whitening strips or trays, a common teeth whitening method, can enhance your smile.
The majority of items will either contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, a substance that contains hydrogen peroxide. The solution must normally be left on your teeth for 30 to 45 minutes each day.
According to Dr. Clemons, utilizing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide will produce the desired bleaching effects. You will actually notice a difference since those chemicals are dissolving the bonds of the molecules that cause color.
The primary distinction to look for is fit because there are so many options available for residential use. You’ll have more control over where the gel or formula goes and how long it stays on if it fits specifically for you, especially in trays. That improves the treatment’s efficiency and safeguards your gums and teeth from adverse effects including sensitivity and gum inflammation.
How long will the results last?
According to Dr. Clemons, the type of therapy you take and how long you use it will determine how close you get to a radiant smile.
When using one kind of strip, she explains, “It might take a couple of weeks to get the same results versus maybe seven days for something that’s a little bit stronger.”
However, it’s crucial to ensure that your teeth are healthy before beginning any sort of whitening procedure.
“You’re more likely to experience negative effects if there is an underlying cavity or gum disease and you apply a bleaching solution to your teeth and gums,” warns Dr. Clemons.