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Mythbusters: Teeth Whitening Edition

October 18, 2020

Teeth Whitening methods

Nose itching? Someone is thinking about you. Palm needs a scratch? Someone is about to give you some money. See a penny with Lincoln staring at you? Pick that sucker up, and luck will follow.

There are hundreds of old sayings floating around, and while some of them are grounded in actual old-fashioned wisdom, there are some that could lead to trouble, such as betting your house on a horserace because you found a face-up penny.

There are plenty of tooth whitening remedies floating around in the world. We are here to help you sift through the most commonly known methods and decide what actually works and what might be a waste of time and money.

Charcoal

Charcoal has been around for a very long time. Hippocrates recommended it to his fellow ancient Greeks. It's important to note that the charcoal that is usually mentioned as beneficial in teeth whitening isn't what you use to fire up the grill on Labor Day. That is just a mix of wood, peat moss, and coal. What you want is activated charcoal, which is what you’re left with when standard charcoal goes through a heating process that changes its nature and creates "pockets" of compounds. These compounds can, in theory, detoxify your teeth, mouth, face, etc.

There have been some studies that have shown promise in the whitening process charcoal offers, but there are risks. Companies can use lots of different materials and call it charcoal. It isn't a well-regulated material, and the research doesn't show much well-documented success.

Turmeric

Anyone who has ever cooked with Turmeric, a bright yellow spice hailing from the Middle East, might wonder how something that leaves fingers stained yellow could have a whitening effect on teeth. Still, it has many health benefits, and some add teeth whitening to that list.

The common method of whitening with turmeric involves combining it with baking soda and coconut oil. Those two ingredients have their own reasons for bragging about whitening teeth (we'll get to them later), but turmeric on its own doesn't appear to have any benefit to your teeth. Still, there are plenty of other wonderful things turmeric can do for your body. It might help fight inflammation of the gums, boost your immune system, and soothe your stomach, but it probably won't whiten your teeth.

Oil Pulling

Coconut oil has burst onto the natural healthcare scene as a healthy fat and miracle oil. Oil pulling is the process of swishing around coconut oil in the mouth for 5 to 20 minutes, depending on your determination! Some have claimed the benefits include: healing tooth decay, eliminating bad breath, healing inflamed gums, and leaving teeth whiter and brighter than before. While there are plenty of personal testimonials standing as witness to the whitening power of oil pulling, the science isn't lining up as quickly or enthusiastically. There are very few studies that have been thoroughly designed and reported that find any lasting results. It doesn't have any major risks either, so if you have some extra time on your hands and swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for 10 minutes sounds appealing, give it a go!

Baking Soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, has been known for its tooth whitening potential for a very long time. It is a naturally mild abrasive and so can sort of gently "sand" the tooth's surface, polishing away stains or plaque. It is a common ingredient in whitening toothpastes because of this characteristic. It is a safe way to polish your teeth and keep them clean between dental visits, but it doesn't have any deep whitening capacities. It is a great way to maintain bright teeth between whitening treatments, but it doesn't seem to do much whitening all on its own. Still, it is very safe to use, whether on its own with water or in a toothpaste.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This one can be a bit tricky. There is solid science supporting the fact that hydrogen peroxide can whiten teeth. In fact, we confidently use it in our products. However, getting the concentration right is tricky and can be dangerous if you use it too often or too much. You can mix it into a rinse or with your toothpaste but will need to use it frequently if you are using the lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide. It can be a bit of a dance to get it right.

We are here to help you get it right! We know the steps to this whitening dance, and we have it down perfectly. While these natural methods have some potential and are low risk and low cost, your best bet for successfully brightening your smile is to use an approved teeth whitening system. We have combed through the research for you and perfected a system that will brighten your smile without risk. So, pick up the face-up pennies, avoid walking under the ladder, and throw the salt over your shoulder, but for best results, leave the teeth whitening to us.