Is DIY teeth whitening dangerous?
It’s the summer which means there’s more reasons than ever to get your teeth whitened and with lockdown restrictions easing many of us want to get up, go out and really let go. So, more socialising, seeing friends and family and just having more fun. Who doesn’t want to look as good they can for those photos and selfies that help us remember the good times. It’s not surprising that after the last few months stuck inside some of us have been eating and drinking foods and drink that have a negative effect on the colour of our teeth. We’ve also spent a lot of time online so we know that after a couple of clicks we can order a DIY home-delivery teeth whitening kit and skip that trip to the dentist. Who wouldn’t be tempted by such a quick way to remove those unsightly stains on our teeth? But wait, if you’re looking for teeth whitening in Oxford then you need to ask if DIY whitening kits are actually safe?
Is DIY teeth whitening safe?
There’s some DIY teeth whitening kits we’d consider safe, but at Summertown Dental & Implants in Oxford we’ve seen some kits that need closer inspection especially when you analyse the products they use. Cheaper kits in particular often don’t contain sufficient active whitening ingredients to be effective. These kits may not cause any actual harm but they end up being a waste of money as they don’t deliver the teeth whitening results the images on the packaging suggest you’ll get.
It’s not unusual for us to see patients who’ve tried DIY teeth whitening and end up with sore irritated gums. The reason behind sore gums is usually the generic mouthguard included in DIY whitening kits. Every mouth, set of teeth and patient is unique so a mouthguard designed as a one-size-fits-all is actually a one-size-fits-nobody. Ill-fitting teeth whitening mouthguards mean the teeth whitening gel used to whiten teeth leaks onto gums which leads to the irritation. The only way to avoid gum sensitivity is to use a custom-fitted mouthguard so whitening gel can be distributed precisely and safely onto teeth. It also delivers a much better whitening result.
From a legal perspective DIY teeth whitening should not contain more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide content. But how do you know whether you’re buying your DIY teeth whitening kit from a reputable source? Whilst the guidelines set by law are detailed in their technical specifications there’s no guarantee the supplier you buy from are complying with such regulations.
Unfortunately we’ve seen whitening kits where the ingredients deviate from what’s legally recommended so while the kits are cheap they can also be harmful. For example, we’ve seen kits containing chlorine which is the acid used to clean swimming pools. This can eat away at your gums and tooth enamel and must be avoided if you want to whiten your teeth safely.
Enamel on your teeth protects them from wear and tear so anything that damages this protective layer can lead to bigger dental problems down the line. No one wants to damage their teeth and oral health for short-term teeth whitening so we’d urge you to consider teeth whitening at our Oxford dental practice.
Can I whiten my teeth with baking soda?
The myth about whitening teeth and baking soda has been around a long time and is attractive to some because it’s cheap and can be done at home. What many people don’t realise though, is baking soda on its own is likely to have little to no effect when it comes to whitening your teeth. For any effect it needs to be mixed with an activator like lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide. The problem, however, is these mixtures become highly acidic when used on the teeth at home and can damage the tooth’s protective enamel layer. Damaging your teeth’s enamel leads to over sensitive teeth which in turn causes discomfort when eating and drinking. As a general rule we’d advise against following any online advice on DIY teeth whitening.
Home DIY teeth whitening vs dentist
As we’ve discussed above, DIY teeth whitening tends not to deliver the desired result and can actually harm your teeth and overall oral health. Other things to also mention include the fact that DIY kits can only be used on natural teeth. If you have dentures, bridges, dental implants, or crowns, no home solution is going to whiten your teeth.
Furthermore, if you have active cavities that you may or may not know about, some home remedies can cause even more harm. Yet another reason to see your dentist in Oxford who will be able to recommend the safest solution specifically for you. Stick to the methods approved by your dentist and you generally cannot go wrong.
If in any doubt visit your Oxford dentist at Summertown Dental & Implants and have a chat about what you want to achieve in terms of whitening and what’s going to work for your teeth. We’ll be able to guide you on the best solutions and we have affordable options for every budget.
Best teeth whitening offer in Oxford
For a limited time only we’re offering all new patients considering Invisalign a fantastic offer that includes free teeth whitening. For more information contact us today and find out how you can get that smile you’ve always dreamed of.