Teeth Whitening Myths Debunked: Separating Fact from Fiction
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that people have sought ways to whiten their teeth since ancient times. Ancient Egyptians used a whitening paste of ground pumice and wine vinegar, while ancient Romans whitened their teeth by rinsing with urine, with its ammonia serving as a bleaching agent. Along with these tried and surprisingly true teeth whitening efforts, the ancients probably experimented with other whitening methodologies that weren’t passed down through history due to their lack of success.
Not much has changed since then as people continue to seek out novel ways to whiten their teeth. People also tend to have misconceptions about what works and what doesn’t regarding teeth whitening treatments. Southwest Florida dentists Dr. Jonathan Van Dyke and Dr. Brian Garcia frequently must debunk teeth whitening myths they hear from their Marco Island patients. To help you separate fact from fiction when it comes to teeth whitening, Island Tower Dentistry has compiled the top-teeth whitening myths our dentists often debunk.
Myth 1: Whitening Toothpaste is All You Need
Numerous over-the-counter toothpaste brands claim to effectively whiten teeth. While the abrasive materials and/or bleaching agents used in teeth whitening toothpaste types can help remove light surface stains, they cannot effectively remove deeper staining. Researchers have determined no sound evidence exists that over-the-counter whitening toothpastes can provide better whitening than professional products. Additionally, researchers warn that “indiscriminate use of over-the-counter products might induce damage and deleterious effects on the tooth or gingival tissues.”
If you’re using a whitening toothpaste, ask your dentist for their opinion on the effectiveness and safety of your chosen brand. Your dentist can provide insight on which whitening toothpaste can safely provide the most whitening benefits to address your specific stains and discoloration.
Myth 2: Lemon Juice and Baking Soda is an Effective DIY Whitening Treatment
Baking soda has long been recognized for its ability to help remove stains from teeth, including those caused by coffee, wine, and smoking. Indeed, some toothpaste brands use baking soda as a whitening additive.
Meanwhile, mixing the acidity of lemon juice with baking soda’s abrasiveness has emerged as a popular do-it-yourself teeth whitener promoted on YouTube and social media. Despite the apparent effectiveness of this DIY solution, know that the acidity of the lemon juice can cause permanent damage to your tooth enamel and dentin if this becomes part of your dental regimen. And such damage will mitigate any positive whitening benefits you may have achieved.
Rather than turning to this or other online-propagated teeth-whitening solutions, discuss effective professional teeth-whitening options with your dentist.
Myth 3: Professional Whitening Harms Teeth
This myth likely arose because over-the-counter whitening kits can cause damage to teeth if improperly applied or when applied to teeth that are already damaged. Professional whitening treatments offered by your dentist will not harm your teeth because they will only use treatments compatible with your dental condition.
Not only can your dentist offer the most effective whitening treatment, but they will also follow safety protocols designed to protect your teeth from potential damage. Your dentist will also advise you about the potential sensitivity and inflammation side effects caused by professional whitening and offer options to mitigate them.
Myth 4: Whitening Treatments Weaken Teeth
As with the myth about harming teeth, whitening treatments typically only weaken them if improperly applied or applied to teeth with existing damage. For example, if the enamel is already weak or penetrated by cavities, you should probably avoid most whitening treatments.
Thus, to ensure that a whitening treatment will not weaken your teeth, you should always have a dentist conduct a comprehensive oral health assessment. Your dentist will be able to evaluate the strength of your teeth enamel to ensure the relative safety of any teeth whitening treatment.
Not a Myth: Whitening Treatments Can Cause Teeth Sensitivity
We trust that we have helped dispel some myths and misperceptions you may have had about professional teeth whitening. You’ve probably also heard that whitening treatments can cause teeth sensitivity. This is not a myth, though most patients only experience sensitivity for a short 24- to 48-hour period. Your dentist will likely offer the following advice to help manage temporary sensitivity that might arise from professional in-office or take-home whitening treatments:
- Closely follow all instructions.
- Limit cold drinks and food during treatment.
- Take a pain reliever before the application of whitening products.
- Use fluoride rinses and/or sensitive-teeth toothpastes.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Contact your dentist if the sensitivity persists long after treatment.
Turn to Island Tower Dentistry for Your Teeth Whitening Treatment
The customized, in-office or take-home teeth whitening treatments offered by your dentist provide the best option for safely whitening your smile. With a comprehensive understanding of your oral health, your dentist’s professional whitening treatments eliminate the risks of potential damage that come with over-the-counter and DIY treatments. To learn more about teeth whitening options available from Island Tower Dentistry, Dr. Van Dyke or Dr. Garcia would be happy to meet with you. For all of your dental health needs in the Marco Island, Florida, area, contact Island Tower Dentistry today at 239-394-1004.