White teeth: Everyone loves them, but not everyone has them. According to countless advertising campaigns, you can turn those slabs of granite into pearly whites in minutes with (insert one of a jillion product names here). Sound too good to be true? Maybe not. Then again, maybe. It all depends on the product, and on you. No whitening system is right for every patient. No patient is right for every whitening system. And a few things that are promoted for teeth whitening aren't right for anything but the trashcan.
There are many safe and effective ways to whiten your teeth. The following are not among them.
Whitening techniques to avoid:
- Lemon juice and baking soda – This common recipe for natural teeth whitening is acidic (softens tooth enamel) and abrasive. It removes stains like paint remover takes stains off of a painted surface.
- DIY peroxide – Some people opt to skip the "whitening formula" and go straight for a brown bottle of peroxide from the first aid supplies. It can irritate your gums, tongue, and cheeks as well as being harmful if swallowed. Professional systems keep the peroxide confined to the teeth, and away from soft tissues. They also contain other ingredients to make them more effective and reduce sensitivity.
- One-size-fits-all trays – Your mouth was custom-made. You need a custom-made tray for a good fit, which is essential to preventing leaks.
- Abrasives – Many whitening toothpastes work by scraping stains off your teeth with abrasives. Too much abrasion can scrape enamel off your teeth, too.
- Questionable brands and ingredients – Just because you read a "tip" on the internet doesn't mean it is a good idea. Similarly, just because someone is selling something doesn't mean it's safe. If you are purchasing over-the counter oral care products or any kind, choose reputable retailers and products with the ADA seal of approval.
- Going it alone – The ADA recommends consulting your dentist before whitening, even if you plan to use retail products. This is advisable to ensure that you are a good candidate, and that you are using the right product. Checking with your dentist will help you avoid the whitening pitfalls mentioned above, and many more.
Take the right path to white teeth. Start by calling Big Smile Dental at 773-772-8400 and scheduling an appointment.