Dr. Charlie Cage Dental Blog

What are the options to whiten teeth at home?

DIY whitening at home?

If you’re a DIY’er like myself, you’re probably wondering how can I whiten my teeth at home and get the best results? Get whiter teeth in the comfort of your own home but let’s avoid the dreaded DIY joke ‘why buy it for $10, when you can make it for $50’.

I often see posts of the before and after showing the difference in the color with their simple homemade cocktail of ingredients and instructions.
whitening teeth at home
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The reality is that these photos are usually edited similarly to this one to depict the contrast in color.
I’ll let you in on this trick for editing your own pictures. Take a brush and select the teeth. Then simply adjust the temperature to be more ‘blue’. This looks a lot more natural than cranking up the exposure and it also maintains the natural highlights and shadows in the teeth. 🙂
Seriously though! The advice provided on social media should be discussed more often because as a dentist I see how some of these products can be detrimental to a patient’s oral health.

What about eating fruits are vegetables, can they whiten teeth?

I’m happy you’re moving towards a more healthy diet but all things in moderation. Note that some fruits can be very high in sugar or can be acidic in nature which can result in the issues we previously discussed with the mouth’s pH. Some advocate for this, stating that the cleansing nature of these foods can whiten teeth but nothing does a better job at cleaning teeth at home than a good ol’ toothbrush and floss.

Does oil pulling whiten teeth?

This DIY whitening does not do as well as those who practice oil pulling think. Find out why in this post I wrote which goes more in-depth on oil pulling.

What are dentists concerned about?

One of the most frequent complaints from patients who whiten their teeth is sensitivity. This can be so severe that it can prevent someone from eating, drinking, or breathing through their mouths.
whiten teeth at home without sensitivity
Another concern is wearing of the teeth. Most products such as charcoal toothpaste (at home whitening) or using baking soda (DIY & at home whitening) used to whiten teeth are quite abrasive. These rough particles are successful at scrubbing away the stains on teeth but also the superficial layer of teeth.
If used frequently, the thinning of this layer which is more white will allow the underlying layer which is more yellow to shine through. So that means teeth will appear more yellow and not much can be done to brighten the teeth outside of doing expensive treatment such as veneers or crowns.

Start with the basics

Having a solid hygiene regimen to include flossing and brushing effectively. This is help to remove food which can cause staining but also allow safe whitening efforts to last longer.
but be careful!

There are times that you should NOT brush your teeth! (I can’t believe I’m saying this!) There really are times that not ideal to brush your teeth. These usually are immediately following an acid exposure, such as from eating or drinking acidic foods or vomiting. 

This is because if the mouth’s pH has dipped below 5.5, teeth are more prone is being broken down or worn away. Allowing approximately 30 mins after exposure can result in the return of the mouth’s normal pH where teeth are more resistant to damage.

So is DIY whitening recommended by dentists?

At this time, I do not recommend any DIY whitening techniques and some at-home whitening products should be used with caution because of the potential for irreversible damage. Please note the distinction between DIY whitening vs at-home whitening. For affordable and effective bleaching at home, I recommend these whitening strips

whitening strips product recommendation

There are times that you should NOT brush your teeth! (I can’t believe I’m saying this!) There really are times that not ideal to brush your teeth. These usually are immediately following an acid exposure, such as from eating or drinking acidic foods or vomiting. 

Where to begin your teeth whitening journey?

– I recommend an exam to make sure that your teeth are healthy and eliminate issues such as cavities or infections which can worsen with whitening products.

– A cleaning will remove any build up left on teeth or under the gums to allow the gums to heal and prevent inflammation which could be further aggravated with additional chemicals.

– It’s always advisable to speak with your dentist to discuss options that are better suited for you!

What are some possible options to whitening teeth?

– I recommend an exam to make sure that your teeth are healthy and eliminate issues such as cavities or infections which can worsen with whitening products.
– A customized bleaching tray can be made and used with a whitening gel. This can whiten teeth faster by using a higher percentage of whitening products compared to the whitening strips.

– In-office bleaching is usually combined with a light. The whitening effect is more dramatic which is usually due to the light’s dehydration effect causing the teeth to appear more white. This works great for last-minute events but the potential for sensitivity is higher.

These are the most commonly used ways of whitening teeth but there are many more. This is why it is recommended to consult with a dentist before whitening teeth or if whitening effects are not seen after a few weeks.
I hope this helped! Please do let me know if you have any additional questions or you have a question that you have not found the answer to, I’d be happy to help!

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