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Posted on February 5, 2013 • Posted in Do It Yourself, Oral Health News, The More You Know

Have you had a DIY Teeth Whitening Nightmare experience? Well, this post is written with the hope that it’ll save you from experiencing a DIY teeth whitening nightmare and potential damage to your teeth.

Dr. Lindsey Heim writing here. I recently saw a ‘pin’ on Pinterest about an “at home tooth whitening remedy”.  This remedy was to place a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice on your teeth with a cotton ball and let it sit for a minute.  The pin can be seen below.

As tempting as this may sound to use natural products that we all likely have at home to whiten teeth…

DON’T DO THIS!!!!!!!  PLEASE!!!!!

Why not use natural products to whiten teeth?

Lemon juice is extremely acidic, and when placed on the teeth in full or diluted concentration will weaken enamel.  Acid from bacteria is how and why cavities form; it pulls minerals out of the enamel structure.  By placing HIGHLY concentrated acid on your teeth from lemon juice, you will cause damage, weaken your enamel, and make your teeth more prone to cavities.  On top of weakening your enamel, baking soda is very abrasive to teeth.  By scrubbing away the outer layer of your teeth, the teeth *may* appear slightly whiter for a very short time because stains are removed with the tooth structure, but you are losing valuable tooth structure.   This is NOT a good way to whiten teeth.

I’ve already done it. Now what?

If you have used this remedy, please let your dentist know.  No judgment, but we may suggest to not do this ‘remedy’ again.  Some damage from this whitening remedy could be irreversible, but there are steps that we can take to help re-strengthen your enamel.

What are my other options? What would a dentist recommend?

There are many safe options out there to whiten teeth.  I would encourage everyone to discuss any plans to whiten teeth with your dentist, even if you plan to use over the counter products.  We have great professional options to whiten your teeth and make them the brightest in the shortest amount of time with the longest lasting results, but can also discuss the better over the counter options if one prefers to use those.  There are effective over the counter products out there, they often just don’t get the results a professional system can get and often take longer to get those results.  It is best to run any plans to whiten your teeth by your dentist, since although proper whitening products are generally safe, some conditions can be worsened by whitening, and there can sometimes be side effects which are best managed by a dentist.

It is possible to get a whiter, brighter smile with just a few steps, but this ‘remedy’ is NOT one of them.

Blog post by Dr. Lindsey Heim, your local Madison dentist.

Related posts:

Have you turned a leaf this year and looking for sugar-free and non-candy Valentine’s? Look no further. Madison Family Dental’s got FREE Valentine’s Day downloads/printables for you to use and share.

Read about the dangers of sugary and acidic drinks to your teeth and health.

We did a post about Halloween Candy Alternatives back in October 2012 and discussed more about the dangers of sugar to your health.

NOTE: We boast the best dentist office hours in the area– open 7a – 7p four days a week! And 7a-5p on Fridays. We never close for the noon hour either.