5 Myths About Teeth Whitening, Debunked & 5 Facts You Should Know

Gentle Dental

Teeth whitening isn’t just for the rich and famous anymore. Everyone seems to be seeking out ways to make their teeth look whiter and brighter. Visit any grocery or drugstore, and you will find multiple shelves filled with tooth whitening products. Similarly, beauty magazines, blogs, and websites often contain articles on DIY or “natural” whitening treatments for teeth.

The reality is, however, that many of these products and remedies are ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. What makes this even more unfortunate is that top solutions for teeth whitening are both straightforward and affordable when performed by a cosmetic dentist.

6 Common Myths – Debunked

Here’s a list of common myths about whitening teeth. Do any of them come as a big surprise? Have you tried any of these remedies in the past?

1) Whitening Toothpaste is Effective

Many companies sell so-called whitening toothpaste, often at a higher price than standard products: Don’t waste your money on them. The chemicals needed to whiten teeth effectively must remain in contact with the tooth for an extended period of time. Since most people brush and rinse their teeth in a matter of minutes, any whitening ingredient in the toothpaste simply won’t get the chance to start working. 

2) Coconut Oil Whitens Teeth

Many people use coconut oil in cooking, smoothies, and as a moisturizer for hair, face, and body. In fact, coconut oil sales topped $239 million in 2015, in part due to health claims made about the oil. One such claim is that swishing coconut oil around in your mouth, a holistic health treatment known as “oil pulling” can whiten teeth. The practice of oil pulling dates back hundreds of years, according to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine.  Despite the hype, however, there is no scientific evidence to support that coconut oil can whiten teeth.

3) Lemons and Strawberries Help Make Teeth Whiter

Some people use crushed strawberries or lemon juice to whiten their teeth. The problem with this method is that it may seem effective at first, but over time the acid in these fruits will eat away at your enamel, according to dental experts. This damages the teeth and can result in your needing additional dental treatment later.

4) Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda are Safe DIY Teeth Whitening Solutions

Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda are not ideal whitening treatments. Baking soda can disturb the balance of good to bad bacteria in your mouth, possibly triggering oral health problems. Hydrogen peroxide can create free radicals, causing tissue damage.

5) Professional Tooth Whitening Isn’t Worth the Cost

While it is true that professional teeth whitening will cost you more than a kit purchased at your local drugstore, there is often a significant difference between the two experiences. Many people are pleasantly surprised to find out that professional tooth whitening is actually quite affordable. In addition, because the procedure is supervised by a dental professional, it is often safer and provides more satisfactory results.

Real Facts About Whitening Teeth

Now it’s time to look at some real facts about whitening treatments for teeth. Some of these may also come as a surprise:

  1. Drugstore Whitening Products are Not the Same as Professional Whitening Solutions 

    The strength of the whitening gel used in professional dentist offices may be stronger than that which is available in an at-home whitening kit. While it is also true that very strong gels can cause tooth sensitivity and irritation, everyone is different. That is why working with an experienced cosmetic dentist is often a good idea. In addition, a dentist has significant experience in preparing custom whitening trays. A custom tray can help ensure that your whitening treatment gives you the results you desire.

  2. UV Light Isn’t Necessary for Teeth Whitening

    You may have seen dentists in movies or on TV using UV light as part of the tooth whitening process. The trouble is that there’s no real evidence that the UV light improves results. In addition, exposure to ultraviolet radiation can itself be dangerous.

  3. Children Should Wait to Have Their Teeth Whitened

    It is an unfortunate fact that some children have stained or discolored teeth. There many causes for this condition, including poor oral hygiene as well as the use of certain medications. In general, it is best to delay tooth whitening as the process may have a negative impact on a child’s developing teeth. A pediatric dentist can discuss your concerns with you and offer a realistic timeline for treatment.

  4. You Can’t Whiten a Crown or Implant

    According to the American Dental Association, synthetic teeth can’t be whitened, and the only way to address staining or discoloration is to have the tooth replaced. If you are considering implants or veneers, consider having your teeth whitened first, as you won’t be able to address discoloration after your procedure has been completed.

  5. Professional Whitening Treatments Have Never Been More Affordable

    These days, it’s easy to get powerful professional whitening treatments that fit your budget. At Gentle Dental, our staff is ready to provide you with the information you need to make a decision about whitening services. One of our cosmetic dentists can review your case and provide you with a variety of options for improving your smile. Our office staff will work with you to make sure you can get the dental care you deserve at a price you can afford. We accept major credit cards and financing programs are available.


How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

Professional teeth whitening treatments can last much longer than natural or over-the-counter remedies; however, they won’t last forever. You can make your results last longer by practicing good hygiene and by avoiding acidic and dark-colored foods that are known to stain teeth. While tooth whitening offers long-term benefits, the aging process can still cause your teeth to yellow over time. Fortunately, your dentist can assist you in addressing this through whitening touchups and provide you with some helpful teeth whitening tips.

What to Eat After Teeth Whitening

After your teeth whitening treatment, it’s important to eat foods that are clear or white to avoid staining your teeth. This includes white sauces, plain chicken and fish, white rice, plain pasta with butter and eggs whites. You should limit your beverages to water or milk. After about a day, you can return to your normal diet; however, try to avoid dark-colored foods as much as possible of you will have to get your teeth whitening regularly to maintain your results. This includes coffee, tea, and red wine, according to the ADA.

Bottom Line

As is true of most things health-related, prevention is always preferable to treatment. You can prevent tooth discoloration and staining by regularly brushing and flossing, avoiding smoking, limiting the consumption of beverages that stain teeth (such as tea, coffee, and wine), and getting regular professional cleanings.

If your teeth are already discolored, however, it’s a good idea to speak with one of Gentle Dental’s experienced cosmetic dentists. Our professionals can evaluate your teeth and make recommendations regarding improving their appearance. Our staff is also happy to assist you with understanding treatment options and managing costs. You can find the Gentle Dental office closest to you here.