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How to Safely Whiten Teeth at Home
July 1, 2018

Teeth whitening, before and after shots

Just a simple scroll through social media can lead to patients seeing posts about how to get a beautiful, white smile all while only using common household ingredients. While it’s true, you can achieve a bright white hollywood smile from the comforts of home, it’s definitely not recommended to dig through your pantry to make it happen.

When it comes to your teeth, there’s a lot more risk than reward at hand when it comes to how you choose to whiten. Can you spot a DIY disaster idea from the real deal?


Why DIY Whitening Guides Can Be Dangerous

You’ve heard your dentist say it many times, but your enamel cannot be replaced and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. The number one reason why DIY whitening can be so dangerous is because how you choose to whiten impacts your enamel and can affect your gums too. If not done properly, you can injure your soft tissues or your enamel pretty easily.

DIY whitening don’t contain the same chemicals as professional whitening treatments, so they need to whiten teeth through other mechanisms. Most of the DIY whitening ingredients scrub the enamel to wear away superficial stains, instead of gently lifting the stains. While they may be scrubbing away stains, they’re also scrubbing away your precious enamel and using these DIY methods over an extended period of time will leave you with premature tooth erosion and sensitivity.


Home Whitening Kits vs. Professional Whitening

When it comes to whitening, you really have two options, and the main difference is how long you want to wait to achieve the end results you’re hoping for. While at-home whitening can be more affordable, it also takes longer than an office visit because of the strength of the whitening treatments dentists can offer.

With professional whitening, you have two options:

Professional Whitening From Your Dentist

A high concentration of peroxide is applied to the teeth and a light is used, which accelerates the chemical reaction and the whitening agents. With a few sessions, about an hour each time, you will see dramatic results.

Custom Whitening Trays

Whitening trays are created by your dentist from impressions of your teeth. These trays resemble a retainer or mouth guard and are then used by squirting professional grade hydrogen peroxide gel into the trays and placing them in your mouth for the recommended time.

At-home whitening treatments include:

Whitening Toothpaste

Specific whitening ingredients work by lightening your teeth superficially by being more abrasive than a regular toothpaste. A whitening toothpaste can remove staining on your teeths surface, but not the internal color of your teeth.

Whitening Strips

Each whitening strip is coated with a whitening gel that contains hydrogen peroxide. While each strip molds around your teeth, they can often produce uneven results because the strips are hard to get into the curves between your teeth.


Discussing Whitening With Your Dentist

The promises of cheap and easy whitening are going to get a lot of attention on the internet because everyone loves a quick and cheap remedy, right? Some common DIY whitening options suggest making a paste with lemon juice and baking soda, which claims to naturally bleach your teeth. But reality is, the baking soda is overly abrasive and the lemon juice is dangerously acidic – two things that are terrible for the health of your teeth.

The best, and safest way to achieve a whiter smile is to ask your dentist for a recommendation for your teeth. There are many ADA approved home whitening kits that are perfectly safe and will give you the white smile you’re after in a safe fashion.

Ask Dr. Phillippi about a special recommendation for which teeth whitening treatment is best for you and your smile at your next appointment.