Does Teeth Whitening Work for Everyone?

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular trends for quickly brightening up a smile that has been dulled with age, smoking, and drinking tea, coffee, soft drinks, and red wine. Many people turn to the over-the-counter methods found in whitening toothpastes and even teeth whitening products, but many also turn to professional teeth whitening for more instant and longer-lasting results.

However, teeth whitening isn’t the best or even viable option for everyone. On an occasion, it won’t work at all. Talk with your dentist about whether you are a candidate for successful teeth whitening, even if you want to use over-the-counter methods.

For example, teeth whitening is recommended for pregnant women or children under 16. With pregnant women, the hormones are constantly changing, which  does affect tooth structure as well as gum health. Wait until after the baby is born to try to fix any stains caused by craving unhealthy food and/or severe morning sickness. With under-16 children, their adult teeth are still developing. Agents found in teeth whitening treatment can damage the developing teeth, especially the pulp chambers, which can cause sensitivity.[..Read More]

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

There’s not a person among us who doesn’t wish to have whiter teeth. Many factors contribute to not-so-white teeth, including medications, foods we eat, beverages we drink, trauma, and–the least favorite–age. Fortunately for us in this day and age, there are plenty of options available to help us obtain that dazzling white smile. Many people turn to home remedies for help, whether it’s for economic reasons or safety precautions. If you fall under the latter category and are worried about the safety of bleaching in a dental office, let’s put those fears to rest.

Whitening Teeth in the Dentist Office

Dentists use a bleaching agent–stronger than the agents found in over-the-counter teeth whitening kits–to erase the surface stains from your teeth. The bleach is very strong, but it is also very safe for your mouth. To prevent possible irritation, however, the dentist will protect your gums, tongue, and lips from the process.

Since dentists use such a strong bleaching agent, the professional teeth whitening treatment typically produces far more drastic results far more often than the over-the-counter treatments. Many professional treatments lighten teeth up to seven shades whiter after just one session. Home treatments can take up to three or four applications to produce similar results.

Teeth Whitening Effects

There are minimal side effects from teeth whitening, but the most common side effect is greater teeth sensitivity, especially with patients who are already prone to teeth sensitivity. This happens more often with home treatments than professional treatments, since your dentist can assess your teeth to prepare a custom bleaching session for you as well as ensure that the bleaching agent remains on your teeth for a finite time.

Of course, before you try any teeth whitening attempt, whether it’s professional or over-the-counter, always talk to your dentist first for recommendations.

If you happen to be looking for a new dentist in the Frisco/Plano area of DFW, all new patients who check-in with Foursquare, SCVNGR, or Facebook Places receive a free teeth bleaching.

Think Teeth Whitening is Dangerous? Try Orange Juice…

Many avoid home teeth whitening treatments or even professional teeth whitening treatments, as it has been largely touted that such methods contain harmful chemicals–specifically, hydrogen peroxide–that will erode the enamel and reduce the overall hardness of your teeth. So instead, they turn to home remedies, using natural foods and the like. While most of these are fine, please reconsider the popular orange juice home remedy.

Recent research conducted at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health at the University of Rochester found that the citric acid in orange juice is far more harmful on tooth enamel than hydrogen peroxide.

For the study, the research team treated one set of enamel samples to orange juice for 20 minutes for five days and another set to hydrogen peroxide, also for twenty minutes for five days. The enamel exposed to orange juice suffered a reduction of 84.4%, while the enamel exposed to the hydrogen peroxide was only reduced by 5.6%.

It’s hard to argue with results such as these. The acid in orange juice significantly weakened the tooth enamel, which can lead to both cavities and/or tooth sensitivity.

Don’t think that we are saying you shouldn’t drink orange juice at all. Orange juice has enough good attributes for your overall health to definitely encourage keeping orange juice in your diet. However, like most other things, moderation is the key. Obviously, never use orange juice as a home whitening remedy. Also, try to drink a reduced acid version of orange juice if it’s available, and be sure to drink it instead of sipping it. Sipping prolongs exposure to the citric acid. As another precaution, it’s a good idea to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste thirty minutes after drinking.

So be rest assured that home whitening treatments and professional teeth whitening are quite safe for your teeth. If you have any questions about whitening your teeth with over-the-counter methods or professionally, contact your dentist to discuss recommendations and all of your options.

Three Bad Natural Teeth Whitening Remedies

Whitening your teeth is all the rage these days. All you have to do is walk through the dental care aisle in your local grocery store and you will notice an abundance of chemicals and cleaners all promising a whiter smile. However, while these may work, they are often expensive and can sometimes cause more problems due to their chemical makeup.

To avoid all these nasty chemicals, you may look for a natural solution. While there are plenty of great choices when it comes to holistic remedies, there are a few you will want to avoid. These natural solutions may work for a bit of time, but they can cause some serious damage in the long run. Let’s look at three solutions you should avoid.

Lemon juice or lemon peels

This is a very common solution that you may find on many internet sites as an alternative to nasty chemicals. The treatment works by rubbing lemon peels over the teeth or by brushing with lemon juice. Now this solution may work, but it is also extremely harmful to your teeth. The whitening agent in lemons is citric acid, and it is this acid that can destroy the calcium in your teeth. As the acid reacts to your teeth, they become whiter, but they also become weaker, thus making them more sensitive and can lead to tooth decay. It is best to avoid this solution no matter how much you may like lemons.

Strawberries

This is another common recommendation, and most likely due to strawberries tasting so dang good. However, strawberries are just as dangerous as lemons. These little round fruits of tastiness contain the same type of calcium-depleting acid as lemons, just not nearly as potent. Thus, brushing with strawberry paste is just as dangerous as lemons.

There is a secondary factor to this alternative and that is seeds. If you brush with strawberry paste, there is a good chance you will end up with seeds wedged among your teeth. Not only are these seeds abrasive and hazardous to your enamel, but if you do not floss directly afterwards, the seeds can cause tooth decay and gingivitis. Enjoy strawberries as a snack, but not as a dental care product.

Hardwood Ash

This may be one of the oddest solutions floating around the internet. The solution calls for you to brush your teeth regularly with a hardwood ash paste. The issue is that hardwood ash contains an extremely concentrated amount of potassium hydroxide, also known as lye. This can decimate tooth enamel over repeated use. Sure, this solution will make your teeth whiter, but it is not the healthy white you want. Just like the solutions mentioned above, this will open your teeth to more severe issues, and it will probably taste nasty during the process.

The best thing you can do for white teeth is to develop good oral hygiene. Proper brushing and flossing, in conjunction with limiting your intake of specific foods like lemons and strawberries, is the best way to keep your pearly whites bright and healthy. If you have a question about any teeth whitening system, natural or branded, always ask your dentist what is best for your teeth.

Three Natural Alternatives to Toothpaste

There is a growing trend as of late that has people hunting down natural products over manufactured counterparts. This movement covers everything from the foods that people consume to the hygiene products they use on a daily basis, including toothpaste. If you are jumping on this natural bandwagon, there are a few alternatives you can use to keep your mouth healthy while shying away from conventional toothpaste.

Quite possibly the most common natural alternative for brushing your teeth is baking soda. That little box at the back of your fridge can actually do more than just keep the food in your refrigerator fresh. Baking soda is already a part of many types of toothpaste, and for good reason. It not only cleans your teeth and kills bacteria, but it can also whiten your teeth while deodorizing your mouth. This is one alternative that has been in use for years, and its inclusion in other forms of toothpaste should set your mind at ease as to its safety and effectiveness.

Another common alternative is hydrogen peroxide. Now before you run to the first aid department in your local store, you want to use the food grade (3% solution) as opposed to the stuff that kills germs in open wounds. Hydrogen peroxide is just like baking soda in that it kills germs, freshens your breath, and even helps to whiten your teeth. A side benefit is that this solution is also useful in sterilizing your toothbrush before each use. The only downside is that it is not exactly the tastiest thing you will want to use every morning.

Finally, the third alternative is coconut oil. Coconut oil has been proven to be able to fight off bacteria while keeping your teeth and gums healthy. It also contains a natural form of alkaline that helps keep the mouth in a natural state. The best time to use coconut oil is right after you consume particularly acidic foods like citrus fruits or foods high in sugar. The reason for this is that the oil helps neutralize acid, thus aiding in cavity prevention.

Remember, brushing your teeth is vital to maintaining a healthy smile. Just because you do not want to use toothpaste does not mean you can get off the hook when it comes to oral hygiene. Be sure to do your research and consult with your dentist before you embark on this natural lifestyle.