Debunking 10 Common Teeth Whitening Myths
There are hundreds of teeth whitening options today, ranging from dangerous TikTok trends to professional whitening techniques at your dentist’s office. If you want to whiten your teeth safely and effectively, it’s essential to understand which methods are safe, which are dangerous, and which don’t do the job. We’ve addressed ten of the most common teeth whitening myths and given you the facts so you can make the right choice and protect your oral health.
Myth #1: Whitening Toothpaste Equals Professional Whitening
Whitening toothpaste contains one or two ingredients that remove surface stains, but the results are only temporary and cannot remove stains that have developed over the years. Toothpaste with silica gently scrubs away surface stains but does not brighten the teeth. If your whitening toothpaste contains hydrogen peroxide, it may bleach away some surface stains. However, the amount of the active ingredient is much lower than what is found in professional whitening treatments and does not affect deep staining. The results are only temporary, lasting only a day or two.
The higher concentration of active ingredients in professional cleaning gels and UV light use reach deeper into the enamel for brighter, whiter teeth that will last for years. If you want a more profound, more brilliant whitening experience that lasts, professional whitening is a must.
Myth #2: Coconut Oil’s Magical Whitening Powers
Coconut oil does not whiten teeth, although “oil pulling,” the practice of swishing coconut oil in the mouth and spitting it out, may reduce harmful bacteria that can lead to plaque and bad breath. It is safe to do before brushing your teeth, but it does not whiten them.
Myth #3: Lemons as Natural Teeth Whitening Agents
You may have heard that lemon juice can bleach teeth and is safe because it is natural. Sadly, this isn’t true. Lemon juice is highly acidic and can damage the enamel on your teeth, eating away at the enamel and causing tooth decay. The lemon juice can also irritate delicate gum tissue.
Some recipes call for a combination of lemon juice and baking soda, which is even worse. The abrasive quality of baking soda scrubs away the top layer of enamel, increasing sensitivity and leaving teeth more susceptible to decay. Baking soda also kills the good bacteria in the mouth, contributing to plaque.
Myth #4: The High Cost of Professional Whitening
The cost of teeth whitening is surprisingly affordable. Keep in mind that professional teeth whitening lasts for years with good oral hygiene. The cost has dropped as the popularity of professional teeth whitening has grown. Trying to whiten your teeth using other methods can lead to expensive damage to your teeth.
Myth #5: Whitening Crowns: A Misconception
Dental crowns are made from porcelain or composite resin. These materials cannot be whitened. However, you can have your natural teeth whitened before having crowns placed, then match the color of your new crowns to the newly whitened natural teeth.
Myth #6: Teeth Whitening Causes Permanent Sensitivity
While tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening can occur, it is only temporary. A professional whitening treatment temporarily opens the tooth enamel’s pores, leading to hot and cold sensitivity. This usually lasts only a few hours and is gone by the next day at the latest.
Myth #7: Tooth Enamel Ruin & Safety Concerns
Does teeth whitening damage enamel? Not if you choose professional whitening by your dentist. The active ingredients that power away the stains in the enamel are non-abrasive and do not damage the teeth in any way. Temporary sensitivity is due to temporary dehydration of the teeth and opening of the pores in the enamel, both of which quickly fade.
Myth #8: Achieving the “Hollywood” Smile
Many people hope to gain a “Hollywood” smile with teeth whitening. This may be possible for some individuals, but your results depend on many factors, including the natural color of your teeth, the severity of the stains, and what caused the stains. Certain stains, including those caused by certain medications, may not respond as well to teeth whitening. Remember that many Hollywood stars have had extensive dental work, not just teeth whitening. Those beautiful teeth you see may actually be porcelain veneers!
Myth #9: Activated Charcoal for Teeth Whitening
Activated charcoal may remove surface stains for a temporary brightening effect, but it generally does not yield better results than toothpaste and brushing. Everyday use can also lead to damaged enamel due to charcoal’s abrasiveness.
Myth #10: Permanent Whiteness After Teeth Whitening
Many patients ask, “How long does teeth whitening last?” The answer depends on how well you take care of your teeth. Twice daily brushing, flossing, and avoiding foods and beverages that stain your teeth help prolong the effects of professional teeth whitening. For many patients, it can last 2-3 years. It is not permanent because you must eat and drink, which naturally leads to staining over time, even if you take good care of your teeth.
You can prolong professional teeth whitening results with occasional touch-ups using at-home kits available at our office. Other ways to extend the effects of teeth whitening include:
• Drink staining drinks such as iced tea and soda through a straw.
• Rinse your mouth after eating staining foods such as berries or red sauces. Even better, brush your teeth if convenient.
• Avoid using tobacco.
• Switch to a non-abrasive whitening toothpaste.
If you are considering teeth whitening, our team at Mason Creek Dental can answer your questions, provide a safe, comfortable experience, and give you a beautiful, sparkling smile. Call us at Katy TX Family Dentistry Offfice Phone Number (281) 492-0600 or visit us online to schedule an appointment.
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