Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. So it only makes sense that you want one that you’re proud of and confident with showing. However, lifestyle habits, medications, and overconsumption of dark-colored beverages can stain and discolor your smile.
Like most people, you may be considering a trip to the dentist to undergo professional teeth whitening. Or maybe you’re thinking about purchasing an at-home kit that promises whiter teeth in just a few minutes. While a quick improvement to the look of your teeth is enticing, what many people don’t realize is that the ingredients used are quite harmful.
Dangers of Traditional Teeth Whitening Kits
While many of these kits warn of increased sensitivity and mild discomfort, what they don’t advertise is the fact that the ingredients can cause gum irritation and loss of enamel.
The stronger the bleaching agent, the higher the acidity, and the higher risk there is of loss of enamel hardness. A 35% hydrogen peroxide solution exposed to blue light caused an 8.5% enamel loss. Other dangerous ingredients to be aware of include chlorine dioxide and carbamide peroxide.
The less enamel your teeth have, the less protected they are. Enamel protects your teeth when you bite, chew, and grind. It also hardens your teeth, helping to prevent chips and cracks. When you drink something hot or cold, you can thank enamel for protecting your mouth from those painful temperatures. With less enamel on your teeth, you’re at a higher risk of suffering from:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Weak/brittle teeth
So while traditional whitening kits may whiten your smile, they come with a lot of risk. The good news is that there are less harmful ways to restore your smile.
Here’s how you can whiten your teeth without damaging the enamel.
Use a Natural Teeth Whitening Kit
If you’re looking for an effective yet safe solution to whitening your teeth, choose a natural teeth whitening kit over a traditional one. These kits work by using all-natural ingredients that whiten, brighten, and clean your teeth. Common ingredients found in a natural whitening paste include bentonite clay, olive oil, tea tree oil, and sodium bicarbonate. Though gentle, these ingredients are quite effective at whitening the teeth.
Some natural whitening kits even come with an LED light to speed up the whitening process. After applying the whitening paste to your teeth, you put the LED tray into your mouth for 15-20 minutes. The blue light helps remove stains, discoloration and harmful bacteria.
Follow a Good Dental Routine
The best way to prevent your teeth from becoming discolored and to maintain your teeth after you whiten them is to brush at least twice a day. If possible, you’ll want to brush after every meal and after drinking a dark-colored beverage like coffee, tea, or soda. Brushing removes harmful bacteria and any leftover residue from food and beverages that can stain your teeth.
If you’re unable to brush, be sure to swish with water and stay hydrated throughout the day to minimize the risk of stains.
Aside from a good dental routine, you also want to follow good dental practices. This includes daily flossing, using mouthwash, and habits such as:
- Eating tooth-friendly foods (raw fruits and vegetables)
- Not smoking
- Scheduling routine trips to the dentist
By following a good dental routine, you can reduce the risk of discoloration and stains and maintain your pearly whites after whitening them.
Try Natural Ingredients
Coconut oil has been all the hype these days. It has proven to be great for skin and hair care, as well as a great way to clean and whiten the teeth. Oil pulling is an ancient tradition that has recently regained popularity.
To oil pull, put a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it for 5 to 20 minutes. If swishing isn’t your forte, add a few drops of the oil to your toothbrush and scrub away! Not only does oil pulling help to whiten your teeth, but it also gets rid of any lingering bacteria between your teeth and on your gums. A study found that oil pulling has no negative side effects, is safe, and is an effective preventive therapy for at-home oral hygiene.
Another simple ingredient that has proven to be quite a powerhouse for whitening and protecting the teeth is activated charcoal. Activated charcoal acts as a purifying agent that absorbs impurities in the mouth and on the teeth.
Whitening your teeth doesn’t have to come at the cost of impacted enamel. Keep these options in mind if you want to safely whiten your teeth without any risk.
Do you have any natural ways to whiten your teeth? Share your secrets for pearly whites in the comments below.