Grant Park Dentist Answers: Is teeth whitening safe?

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Grant Park Dentist Answers: Is teeth whitening safe?

The concept and practice of teeth whitening aren’t new. For thousands of years, a bright, white smile signified beauty and wealth. In fact, ancient Egyptians mixed ground pumice stone and vinegar as a whitening paste some 4,000 years ago. Unfortunately, ancient methods of whitening weren’t always safe for oral or overall health. Thankfully, most of today’s teeth whitening methods are safe when used properly.

Continue reading to learn which teeth whitening methods are the safest and most effective.

Whitening Toothpaste

Over-the-counter whitening toothpastes are affordable, safe, and can be effective. This method is designed to remove surface stains from the teeth with a mild bleaching agent and gentle abrasives, such as magnesium carbonate, silica, and calcium carbonate.

As long as a whitening toothpaste is used properly, it shouldn’t damage the dental enamel. However, overuse, brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush, and not following the toothpaste directions can lead to dental damage. To ensure the toothpaste you use is dentist-approved, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

As for results, it may take several weeks or months to notice differences in tooth color.

Whitening Strips

Teeth-whitening strips are another popular over-the-counter whitening option for those looking for a more affordable treatment. These plastic strips contain different levels of peroxide that lift stains and discoloration from the tooth surfaces.

Again, the key to using over-the-counter whitening methods is to follow the directions on the product closely. While you may experience some tooth sensitivity, no other side effects should follow.

People report seeing significant results after two weeks of wearing the strips twice a day. Others report seeing results after just a few days of use.

Natural Remedies

For patients looking for a chemical-free way to brighten their smiles, there are several natural remedies to try. We can’t attest to the accuracy or effectiveness of these methods, but here are the most highly recommended natural remedies for whitening teeth:

  • Oil pulling: Most people use oil pulling for its supposed oral health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and fighting against gum disease. They also report that their teeth are brighter after consistently oil pulling. To put this into practice, take a spoonful of coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth for 15-21 minutes.
  • Brushing with baking soda: Try mixing your toothpaste with baking soda. It has natural whitening properties that remove yellow stains from teeth.
  • Strawberries and baking soda: A combination of the malic acid in strawberries and whitening properties in baking soda can have a positive impact on the color of your teeth. Since strawberries can damage dental enamel, only use this method 2-3 times a week.
  • Apple cider vinegar rinse: One study shows that apple cider vinegar effectively bleaches teeth. To apply this method, mix 2 teaspoons of ACV with 6 ounces of water and swish for 30 seconds. Rinse with plain water, then brush your teeth. Only use this method 2-3 times a week.

Professional Teeth Whitening

For patients who desire immediate results, professional teeth whitening is the way to go. Dentists offer professional-grade whitening systems that are both safe and effective. Our Grant Park dentist, Dr. Abbey J. Lee, also offers professional take-home whitening trays that patients can use at their convenience.

In-office whitening immediately brightens teeth by up to five to ten shades. Professional whitening trays provide dramatic results in as little as two weeks. These methods are safer than over-the-counter methods because they are done under the care and direction of a dental professional.

Want to learn more about our teeth whitening options in Grant Park? Contact our office today at (404) 328-7177 to schedule an initial consultation.

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