Posted on April 8th, 2020
While we have been practicing social distancing and staying inside, we do not want to forget about our overall oral health and wellness. We figured, why not share some scientific insight into some at-home remedies that are swirling about on the web and whether or not they actually work.
Strawberry teeth whitening may sound tasty, but the truth is, it won’t do much to whiten your smile.
Dr. So Ran Kwon, an associate professor and dental researcher at the University of Iowa, put the strawberry teeth whitening method to the test. In her study, published in 2015 in Operative Dentistry, she used a mixture of crushed strawberries and baking soda over 20 pulled teeth, three times a day, for 10 days. The mixture sat on the teeth for five minutes, before Kwon would brush it away. During the study, she found that the mixture helped remove plaque and surface debris from teeth, creating the illusion of a whiter smile. However, the mixture didn’t actually do any bleaching.
Another natural whitening and oral hygiene trend that caught our attention is the practice of oil pulling. What exactly does that even mean? Well, oil pulling involves swishing coconut oil through your teeth for up to 20 minutes. People who practice this today claim that it helps improve their oral hygiene, prevent cavities and whiten their teeth.
While oil pulling most likely won’t hurt you, it’s not a substitute for regular tooth brushing. It’s also unlikely that you’ll notice any lasting, dramatic change in the color of your teeth after practicing oil pulling. As the ADA points out, there have yet to be any reliable studies showing that oil pulling is an effective way to whiten teeth or keep your mouth clean. Until studies show otherwise, it’s best to keep on brushing and flossing.
Turmeric is a globally popular spice with origins and roots in Asia. It’s been used as a healing and herbal remedy for thousands of years. Today, turmeric is an increasingly popular at-home treatment for various minor health issues and a trendy type of latte many flock to.
Turmeric is also being used for at-home teeth whitening. That said, while certainly safe to ingest, the American Dental Association (ADA) notes there’s no scientific evidence to show that turmeric whitens teeth. That said, since turmeric is often added to a mixture of baking soda and coconut oil for teeth whitening, the whitening effect may actually be from the baking soda. Be careful though, according to the ADA baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is abrasive and could be mechanically rubbing the stains off the teeth’s surface, not the turmeric.
Some people claim that rubbing lemon, orange, or banana peels on your teeth will make them whiter. It’s believed that the compound d-limonene and/or citric acid, which is found in some citrus fruit peels, will help to whiten your teeth.
Scientific research proving the effectiveness of using fruit peels to make teeth whiter is lacking.
A 2010 study looked at the effect of a toothpaste containing 5 percent d-limonene in removing teeth stains resulting from smoking and tea. People who brushed with a toothpaste containing d-limonene combined with a whitening formula twice daily for 4 weeks significantly reduced smoking stains, though it didn’t remove long-standing smoking stains or tea stains. Further studies are needed to determine if d-limonene is effective on its own.
Be careful when using this strategy though because fruit’s acidic. The acid can erode and wear away your enamel. According to the ADA, you put your teeth at risk when you prolong contact with fruit or vinegar because the acid will slowly wear away at your enamel. Enamel is the thin mineral coating that protects the insides of your teeth from cavities.
You can use activated charcoal to remove stains from your teeth. It’s believed that charcoal can remove pigments and stains from your teeth because it’s highly absorbent. Also, it is said to be able to get rid of bacteria and toxins in the mouth.
Research has also found that activated charcoal can be abrasive on teeth and tooth-colored restorations, leading to loss of tooth structure. This abrasiveness can potentially make your teeth look more yellow. This is because if you wear away too much enamel, more of the yellow dentin underneath will become exposed. If you are using activated charcoal, be very careful as it can be abrasive.
In conclusion, there is a laundry list of at-home teeth whitening ideas to try while we are all in self-isolation. Proceed with caution when it comes to using more abrasive products, such as activated charcoal, but add your comments below on other DIY teeth whitening solutions you have found have worked for you!