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Whitening “Hacks:” Are They The Real Deal?

Spend much time on the internet and you’re going to stumble across some sort of advice for how to save money and get great results on something. Teeth whitening has fallen into this DIY scheme as well, and there are several methods that people advocate.

But are any of those treatments realistic? We’ve been performing professional teeth whitening for a long time at our Valparaiso and St John offices, and we’ve never been able to determine if teeth whitening hacks work.

So how about we go over the most common DIY teeth whitening hacks and see if any of them hold up?

The Peroxide And Baking Soda Method

Most people have heard that baking soda can be a good product for cleaning your teeth in a pinch, and plenty of people know that hydrogen peroxide is the only real ingredient that works for whitening teeth. Combining them both into a homemade toothpaste must work great, right?

Not so fast! While peroxide does whiten teeth it needs to be pretty strong to do so, and the stuff in the bottle you have at home is only two percent. Most whitening products are a minimum of five percent, and good results only start coming in the ten percent or greater range. Peroxide also needs to be isolated from your teeth to actually whiten – if it’s exposed to saliva it gets neutralized almost instantly.

But what about baking soda? Sure, it’s a good substitute for toothpaste in a pinch, but it’s not ideal for long-term use. Baking soda is really gritty, and using it too much can actually damage your enamel and make you more susceptible to cavities. We suggest ditching this method!

The Banana/Citrus Peel Method

Some people advocate for rubbing the inside of a banana or citrus fruit peel on your teeth to get a whitening effect. Here’s where we start to get into slightly odd territory, and territory that simply won’t provide any real whitening results.

Banana peels are supposed to work because of the mildly gritty texture of the inner peel, and the magnesium and potassium in the peel. It’s true that banana peels will create a bit of a shine to your teeth because of these minerals, but it won’t last more than a few minutes. You’ll get a nice brightening effect in a hurry, but it won’t even last the day.

Citrus, on the other hand, is downright harmful to your teeth. Citrus fruit and its peels contain a lot of acid, and nothing is worse for your teeth than exposure to acidic stuff. If you continually expose your teeth to citrus peels you’re going to damage your enamel and make it easier for cavities to form. Not a very good idea if you’re looking for a brighter, prettier smile!

The Oil Pulling Method

There’s a growing belief in the healing power of ancient medical practices, and unfortunately most of it is rubbish. It would be wonderful if all-natural methods that have been around for thousands of years were realistic, but most of them simply aren’t.

Take oil pulling for example. This technique comes to us from they Ayurvedic school of medicine, which existed in India thousands of years ago. The idea is taking a safe oil, like coconut oil, and swishing it in your mouth for ten to twenty minutes. It’s supposed to not only strip away bacteria, but also whiten in the process.

It can pull a bit of bacteria away from your teeth, but there’s simply no way for it to actually whiten your smile. As for its mouth cleaning properties, oil pulling may have been a great technique before the invention of the toothbrush, but its benefits are far outweighed by modern brushing and flossing.

How Can You Really Get A White Smile?

Of all the amazing whitening products and DIY hacks out there only one kind of whitening stands the tests of time: professional products you can get at dentist offices just like Creating Smiles. When you come to us for teeth whitening we custom tailor a treatment to your needs and desires that will produce actual results in far less time than any alternative method.

If you want to actually whiten your teeth skip all the tricks and go straight to the pros. You can reach our St John office at 219-322-9920 or our Valparaiso office at 219-462-1970. You can also save time and simply schedule an appointment online. We look forward to helping you get the white smile you’ve always wanted!

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About Us

Creating Smiles, PC, located in St. John and Valparaiso, Indiana, offers everything you need for a healthy smile and a healthier life. Dr. Kapers and his team can take the anxiety and uncertainty out of dental visits with sedation dentistry, and we're the premier provider of dental implants in the region.