Dental Implants: Pros and Cons

3 Weird Teeth Whitening Tricks You Should Never Try at Home

by Brett Clark

If you search online for teeth whitening home remedies, you'll find a variety of methods that claim to naturally brighten your smile. Unfortunately, many of these remedies are completely useless and some could even put your dental health at risk. Here are three of the most popular teeth whitening tips that circulate online, along with explanations of why you shouldn't try them at home.

1. Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

One teeth whitening myth that refuses to die is the idea that lemon juice can safely remove stains. Even Dr. Oz recommends mixing lemon juice with baking soda to create your own whitening paste. However, dentists say that this method of teeth whitening is not safe. The acid softens the enamel, allowing the abrasive baking soda to wear it away. This enamel damage could make the teeth even more vulnerable to stains developing in the future.

2. Strawberry Pulp

Another popular teeth whitening remedy recommends crushing strawberries into a pulp and mixing them with baking soda to make a paste that you smear over your teeth to whiten them. Unfortunately, researchers at the University of Iowa have demonstrated that this wacky solution is worse than useless. They found that the acid in the strawberries softens enamel, which could leave teeth more vulnerable to decay. Despite the damage, the strawberry paste didn't have any measurable whitening effect on the teeth.

3. Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is the practice of swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for anything from five to 20 minutes every day. Although coconut oil is less likely to damage your teeth than the fruit-based methods listed here, swishing oil around your mouth could make you feel nauseous and there's no evidence that it will whiten your smile. Dentists claim that any whitening effect that results from swishing coconut oil is simply the movement of the fluid washing plaque away from your teeth, which you could achieve by swishing water or mouthwash instead.

Home Teeth Whitening Methods That Work

Thankfully, there are methods that you can use to safely whiten your teeth at home. Whitening toothpastes, gels, mouth rinses and strips can all remove stains from your teeth, without exposing your enamel to dangerous acids. If you want to keep your teeth white over the long term, you can use whitening toothpaste every day to prevent new stains building up. Professional teeth whitening is another safe and effective option.