5 DIY Teeth-Whitening Mistakes

An American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Survey asked people what they’d most like to improve about their smile and an overwhelming number reported that they wanted whiter and brighter teeth. Unfortunately, many people attempt the do-it-yourself method when it comes to brightening up their smiles, which can have disastrous results and simply be ineffective. Don’t make these mistakes.

1. Overdoing the Teeth Whitening

Just like some people wear away their gums and damage their enamel by brushing too hard in an effort to get whiter and cleaner teeth, some people also believe that leaving whitening strips on longer will be most effective. But those at-home boxed kits come with time limit instructions for a reason – using the strips for too long could increase the sensitivity of your teeth and cause splotching on your teeth. It’s recommended that these products should only be used twice a year as well – in this case, less is definitely more.

2. Relying on Whitening Mouthwashes

Rinsing with tooth-whitening mouthwashes – no matter how often you do it – is unlikely to give you those gleaming white teeth you want. This method could actually be damaging because whitening mouthwashes can be high in alcohol content which is harmful to the rest of your mouth.

3. Whitening Unhealthy Teeth

You may think your smile is in good shape, but if there’s any decay on your teeth, the bleaching products could seep through holes and damaged teeth and go directly to the nerves. That means major pain, not to mention serious damage to your teeth. Even if you would rather attempt a DIY method of whitening instead of a professional whitening treatment, always check with your dentist first and get a cleaning to make sure your smile is healthy and prepared for whitening.

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4. Pinching Pennies

Teeth whitening isn’t necessarily an inexpensive treatment, but if you want your teeth to be white and healthy, choose your treatment wisely or you may find yourself shelling having to pay for emergency dentistry to solve teeth-whitening snafus. There are plenty of online options that promise to give you the same results as a professional whitening treatment or a higher-end over-the-counter whitening kit. But always make sure that what you’re planning to buy is approved by the FDA. Those “bargain” kits online could contain damaging chemical concentrations for your teeth and overall health.

5. Experimenting with “Natural” Whitening Treatments

The latest trendy tooth whitening treatment is charcoal. Yes, charcoal. This messy (and gross) option is considered a natural teeth whitening method, but it may only remove surface stains caused by food and drink and it could potentially be damaging to the enamel. The American Dental Association hasn’t green-lit any charcoal whitening treatments, so think twice before heading in this direction.

Teeth whitening can be an incredibly effective way to change and reinvigorate your look, especially if you’re experiencing the effects of a broken-down middle-age smile. It can also be done quickly and safely when you choose a professional teeth-whitening method such as one-hour in-office whitening or customized at-home bleaching kits prepared by your dentist. Contact Dr. Ken Cirka at Philadelphia Dentistry to discuss your teeth-whitening options.

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