Common Myths About Natural Teeth Whitening

Common Myths About Natural Teeth Whitening

5 Common Myths About Natural Teeth Whitening


If you’re intrigued by natural teeth whitening, you’re not alone. Who doesn’t want a sparkling smile without harsh chemicals? A bright smile instantly provides a professional, friendly, confident look, which explains why so many Australians are looking for natural ways to achieve whiter teeth. 

The appeal is obvious: achieving a whiter smile naturally, without the need for harsh chemicals or expensive treatments, sounds almost too good to be true. And maybe, in some cases, it is.

There’s a wealth of information out there, with countless home remedies and natural solutions claiming to brighten our smiles. From viral social media hacks to age-old home recipes, it can be tough to sort out what truly works and what could potentially harm our precious pearly whites.

We’ll explore some popular myths about natural teeth whitening and look at why these myths are appealing, where they miss the mark, and how we can approach teeth whitening in a way that preserves our dental health. Before you make any decision or try anything, speak to us about teeth whitening in North Perth!

Common Myths About Natural Teeth Whitening
Common Myths About Natural Teeth Whitening

Debunking Common Teeth Whitening Myths

There are quite a few myths floating around that can be misleading. With so much misinformation flooding the internet, it’s important that you stop and take the time to distinguish legitimate oral health tips from misconceptions.

Let’s debunk some of the most common myths and shed some light on the truth about natural teeth whitening.

Myth 1: Lemon Juice and Baking Soda are Safe and Effective Whiteners

Many DIY enthusiasts swear by the lemon juice and baking soda combo. While it’s true that this mixture can brighten your teeth temporarily, it’s not a safe bet in the long run. Lemon juice is highly acidic and can erode your enamel, and baking soda is abrasive, which can further damage the enamel. A weakened enamel can lead to increased sensitivity, even more discolouration, and a higher susceptibility to tooth decay. 

While baking soda alone is a gentler alternative for natural teeth whitening, overuse can damage your tooth enamel. Consistent use might also affect the natural bacterial balance in the mouth.

Its use of either of these as a whitening agent is not only misleading but potentially harmful. Always think twice before going the DIY route with acidic ingredients.

Myth 2: Charcoal Toothpaste is the Best Natural Whitener

Activated charcoal has become a trending ingredient in natural toothpaste and is sold commercially by trusted names. Charcoal has the purported ability to absorb toxins and stains from teeth, however, the effectiveness of charcoal in whitening teeth is not well-supported by dental research. Dentists warn that the abrasiveness of charcoal may harm enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to decay and damage. 

Despite its popularity, it should be used with caution. Consult with your dentist before jumping on the charcoal bandwagon.

Myth 3: Oil Pulling Whitens Teeth Drastically

Oil pulling is an ancient practice that involves swishing oil (like coconut oil) in your mouth for extended periods. It claims to detoxify the body and also whiten teeth and remove stains. While oil pulling can improve oral hygiene by reducing bacteria and plaque, its teeth-whitening effects are often exaggerated. 

Keep in mind this method was developed before toothpaste and quality toothbrushes, so while it was better than nothing back in its time, we have far more superior products on the shelves now.

Myth 4: Strawberries Can Naturally Whiten Teeth

Strawberries contain malic acid, a natural enzyme that can help whiten teeth by removing surface stains. However, it’s important to note that this is more of a temporary cosmetic improvement rather than a deep cleaning or whitening solution. Plus, the sugar in strawberries can contribute to tooth decay if not properly rinsed off.

While they may make your teeth look brighter, strawberries don’t penetrate deep enough to tackle significant stains or alter the natural colour of your teeth.

Myth 5: Natural Whitening Methods Work as Quickly as Professional Treatments

Natural remedies generally take longer to show results compared to professional whitening treatments as they are side effects rather than targeted for results. While they can be gentler and more sustainable, expecting overnight results from natural methods can lead to disappointment. 

Painting Of Very White Teeth
Painting Of Very White Teeth

Understanding the Science Behind Teeth Whitening

Teeth naturally discolour over time. Factors such as ageing, food and drink (like coffee, tea, and red wine), smoking, and even some medications can contribute to teeth becoming stained or yellowed. 

Teeth whitening can reverse some of these effects, leading to a brighter, more appealing smile. The most common whitening agents are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. These substances break down into oxygen molecules that penetrate the microscopic pores of tooth enamel to break down stains.

Whitening procedures are most effective on natural teeth that are in good condition. A dentist will be able to assess your oral health by checking for cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues and advise on whether teeth whitening is a suitable option as well as which treatments will offer the best results.

Non-Natural Teeth: Crowns and Veneers

Non-natural teeth, such as crowns, veneers, and fillings, will not respond to whitening agents in the same way as natural teeth. These dental materials were created to match the existing tooth colour and are resistant to colour alteration. Consequently, whitening adjacent natural teeth may lead to an uneven colour appearance in the mouth, as non-natural teeth remain unchanged.

Longevity of Whitened Teeth

While teeth whitening procedures can dramatically brighten one’s smile, they do not provide permanent results. The longevity of the whitening effect can vary based on dietary choices and oral hygiene. Foods and drinks that often cause stains, such as coffee, tea, and red wine, should be consumed sparingly. Additionally, smoking can quickly yellow teeth, reversing the benefits of teeth whitening.

Chemical Teeth Whitening Options

While natural teeth whitening solutions are desirable, chances are you won’t see the results you want without help from targeted solutions. Just note that the chemical whitening process can vary in outcome due to factors such as the type of stain, the concentration of the whitening agent, and the duration of time the teeth are exposed to the whitening solution. 

Proceed with caution and consider a professional’s advice to safeguard against unwanted effects that may come with your chosen option.

Professional vs. At-Home Whitening

You can buy over-the-counter take-home kits to whiten your smile at home. Options for these include lower-concentration gels, strips, and toothpastes. While these appear cheaper than professional solutions, they don’t contain the higher concentrations of whitening agents needed for a good result, so you probably won’t experience the same effectiveness or speed that you might get with professional treatments.

As an in-between alternative, dentists may offer take-home kits with custom trays for personal application, which usually produce better results than the store-bought selections.

Use of UV Light in Whitening

Ultraviolet (UV) light is claimed to enhance the effect of tooth whitening although its effectiveness is debated among professionals. Additionally, there are concerns about the potential harm UV exposure can cause to the gums and lips.

Safety of Teeth Whitening on Enamel

While teeth whitening is generally considered safe, improper application or overuse can lead to tooth sensitivity or gum irritation. Research suggests that when used as directed, both professional and at-home whitening products are unlikely to adversely affect enamel. Nevertheless, individuals looking to whiten their teeth should consult with a dental professional to determine the safest and most effective approach for their personal situation.

How Dentists Protect Enamel During Whitening

Professional teeth whitening is widely sought after for its effectiveness in brightening smiles. Dentists are committed to preserving enamel strength while achieving desirable outcomes. In most cases, whitening products offered by dentists typically contain fluoride or calcium phosphate to promote enamel remineralisation and reinforce the tooth’s outer layer. 

Before initiating a whitening treatment, dentists assess the patient’s oral health to prevent undue stress on the enamel. They look for signs of enamel erosion or pre-existing sensitivity, which they will use to guide their choice of whitening agents and the method of application. 

For patients with sensitive teeth, dentists employ less concentrated whitening solutions or shorter application times to reduce potential discomfort. Your dentist will monitor your teeth’s response to the whitening product throughout the procedure and make alterations if signs of enamel distress appear. 

If they feel it’s necessary, your dentist may apply a protective gel or use rubber shields to safeguard enamel during the whitening process. These barriers confine the whitening agents to the targeted areas, and limit exposure to the rest of your mouth.

Post-whitening, patients receive guidance on oral care practices to maintain enamel integrity and minimise sensitivity.

Natural Teeth Whitening Myths – Final Thoughts

Seeing perfect white teeth on our screens all the time is a big motivator to chase down our very own “Hollywood Smile”. 

The allure of natural teeth whitening solutions is understandable; the promise of a cheaper, more accessible bright smile without the need for professional intervention, but it’s not without danger. Before you embark on any whitening regimen; professional or otherwise, it is important to be informed about what truly works and what the risks are.

Before trying any new whitening method, have a chat with your Alma Dental dentist. We can offer guidance tailored to your dental health and whitening needs.