Mythbusting DYI Teeth Whitening

September 3, 2020

Over time, even the most immaculately maintained teeth can start to fade. Stains from food, drink, and lifestyle habits can lead to gradual discoloration. It’s normal to want to get rid of stains and achieve a sparkling white smile. You might even be tempted to try at-home teeth whitening methods with ingredients found in your pantry.

Just because DIY teeth whitening methods are trendy doesn’t mean they’re safe to try. At AZ Family Dental, our team has more than 40 years of expertise in dental care. Here, we dispel some common teeth whitening myths and help you discover how to whiten your teeth safely.

Popular DIY Teeth Whitening Myths

Many of the most popular at-home teeth whitening remedies can lead to damaging effects for your teeth. Let’s explore some of the latest trends, and discover the safest alternative.

Oil Pulling

The ancient practice of oil pulling involves swishing a tablespoon of oil around your mouth for about 20 minutes before spitting it out. While it’s thought to enhance teeth whitening by activating your salivary glands and removing bacteria, there’s no proof to back up these claims. Oil pulling likely won’t cause any harm — but there are no proven teeth whitening benefits in the short term or long term.


Charcoal products are a popular at-home trend for tooth whitening. While charcoal toothpaste may help remove stains and temporarily brighten your teeth, it has some risky drawbacks. Charcoal can cause enamel (outer layer of the tooth) abrasion. This will weaken your teeth beyond repair, as enamel cannot grow back. In line with most dentists, we recommend staying away from charcoal products as a teeth whitening remedy.

Baking Soda

Many people turn to baking soda-based toothpaste, or peroxide and baking soda mixes, in order to bleach their teeth. Just like charcoal, baking soda does naturally whiten teeth in the short term — but it can act as an abrasive agent. Over time, this can weaken your enamel, putting you at higher risk for dental cavities and tooth sensitivity.

Lemon Juice

You may have heard that citrus-based solutions help whiten teeth. Fruit is natural — what could go wrong? Lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits contain a high amount of acid. This acid can wear away your enamel layers, particularly if you apply it regularly and leave it on for long periods of time. Stick with eating fruit instead of using it as a teeth whitening remedy.

Things to Watch Out for at Home

When you’re hoping to see quick results, it’s tempting to turn to DIY trends rather than the professionals. We recommend staying away from any at-home whitening methods, especially ones that involve acid or abrasives. Watch out for solutions that aren’t approved by the American Dental Association — when in doubt, consult with your dentist.

The Only Safe Teeth Whitening Solution

When it comes to whitening your teeth naturally and safely, no trend can match good daily hygiene. The best way to keep your smile shining bright is to follow daily brushing and flossing habits as well as schedule regular cleanings with your dentist. Avoid food and drinks that can stain your teeth, like wine or coffee, and avoid smoking. These habits will help keep your teeth whiter over time.

If you’d like to freshen up your smile, dental cleanings and professional teeth whitening sessions are the way to go. Your dentist can safely and effectively remove bacteria and polish any stains through a deep cleaning technique. By removing the particles that cause staining, you’ll get long-lasting results — without the risks involved with a DIY method.

Schedule an Appointment Today

To learn more about safe, effective, and long-lasting teeth whitening solutions, reach out to our team at AZ Family Dental today.

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