Close up of a whitened smileTeeth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure that more and more people are using to rejuvenate their discolored smiles. Given the popularity of coffee, wine, salad dressing, and other items that cause staining, it is no surprise that people are looking for fast ways to get brighter smiles. Not everyone turns to professional teeth whitening, however, preferring instead to use at-home do-it-yourself (DIY) remedies. Although DIY tips can be helpful in other situations, many at-home teeth whitening remedies do far more harm to your teeth than good.

Using Acid To Remove Stains

One home remedy that comes highly recommended by DIY bloggers and talk show hosts is rubbing a little lemon juice on your teeth. People touting this technique say that the harsh acid of lemon juice will break up the stains, but caution against leaving the juice on your teeth for more than a minute. Leaving it on for too long will destroy your enamel. What is not mentioned is that repeated use of this method will weaken and strip away your enamel no matter how short of a time you leave the juice on your teeth.

Abrasive Baking Soda Scrub

Most people have baking soda in their homes, making it a popular DIY ingredient in cleaning, polishing jewelry, and even school science experiments. There are a variety of suggestions on how to use baking soda to whiten your teeth as well, including mixing it with lemon juice. The most common recommendation is simply mixing it with water and brushing it on your teeth. The abrasiveness of baking soda will scrub away surface stains. This grainy paste will not only remove surface stains, but will also remove your enamel over time. Your teeth will become more vulnerable without the protective enamel layer, and may be more sensitive to heat and cold.

Activated Charcoal Scrub

People have used activated charcoal as a purifier for decades because of its unique ability to trap and absorb organic compounds and toxins. Activated charcoal has also been found to remove tannins, a staining molecule found in teas and coffees. Brushing your teeth with activated charcoal is thought to remove some surface staining. Although it is true that activated charcoal will not damage your teeth, it can cause irritation and inflammation of your gums. This irritation can lead to receding gums.

Expedited Over-the-Counter Whitening

Over-the-counter whiteners remove surface stains, but are not well known for showing results quickly. These offer the least amount of risk of any DIY strategy, but can cause damage if used improperly. Some people suggest expediting the two-week process by leaving whitening strips on for longer than the instructions recommend, or increasing the frequency of use in order to double the speed of the whitening process. Unfortunately, too much exposure to the hydrogen peroxide base in most teeth whitening products will harm your enamel. Prolonged exposure could potentially cause gum irritation similar to the irritation caused by activated charcoal. If you choose to use over-the-counter whitening, following the directions is essential for protecting your teeth.

Professional Teeth Whitening

The safest route for teeth whitening is getting professional teeth whitening from a practicing cosmetic dentist. At Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake, we offer the ZOOM! Tooth Whitening system to give you the best in teeth whitening care. Zoom! removes deep stains so that your white smile will last longer than with over-the-counter products. In as little as one hour, your teeth can be up to ten shades lighter without the risk of damaging your enamel. Care is also taken to cover your gums to protect them from irritation. After your visit, you will be sent home with an at-home whitening kit to help your white smile last even longer.

If you are looking for professional teeth whitening in Westchester County, please contact Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake today.