What if old wives’ tales about teeth whitening remedies really worked? Could there be truth to some of the whitening suggestions that get bandied about, and is it worth testing a variety of age-old tricks and techniques on your precious enamel? There may be some home whitening methods that are worth giving a shot (more on those here), but there are also several techniques that don’t seem to have any compelling medical proof that they do in fact work. Here, we unpack some suggested teeth whitening solutions and advise on whether they are legitimate or simply old wives’ tales.
Activated Charcoal: This is a superfine, black powder that is growing in popularity for its supposed medicinal and cosmetic uses. It is odorless and extremely absorbent — not the same as a lump of burnt wood! Many teeth-whitening products now contain activated charcoal, although clinical data and research do not exist in relation to its advantages for oral health.
Verdict: Scientifically, the jury is out. Toxin-absorbing properties may help with whitening. But there is a known downside of using activated charcoal powder — it creates a huge black mess! The powder is so fine (one teaspoon has more surface area than a football field) that it gets everywhere and is an enemy of white bathroom surfaces.
Strawberries/Strawberries and Baking Soda: Dr. Oz, among other natural health advocates, has claimed that brushing with strawberries, or a mixture of strawberries and baking soda, can give you whiter teeth. Some believe the malic acid found in strawberries gets rid of stains.
Verdict: Old wives’ tale. Any results are a short-term illusion following the removal of plaque, and strawberries’ citric acid eats into your enamel, compromising its hardness. Not an effective way to deal with food stains, tobacco stains and other yellowness on your teeth. However, some studies have shown that using baking soda alone as a scrub can open up the pores of the teeth and remove plaque and yellow stains.
Oil Pulling: Here’s a technique almost as old as the hills themselves, where optimistic whiteness-seekers take some coconut oil and swish it around in their mouths for 20 minutes each day, rinse, and brush using toothpaste. It creates a creamy solution and is said to fight gum disease, kill bacteria and — whiten your teeth?
Verdict: There is limited to no medical evidence to support the claim that oil pulling can effectively address coffee stains and other brownness on teeth. This old wives’ tale is unlikely to make a noticeable, long-lasting difference in whiteness, although some studies have shown that oil pulling might have positive effects on oral hygiene.
Hydrogen Peroxide: This product is easily accessible, affordable, and in many cases, when used correctly, can have teeth-whitening properties. So why doesn’t everyone do it?
Verdict: Not necessarily an old wives’ tale, but studies show that using hydrogen peroxide can easily cause side effects such as tooth sensitivity. Worse, there is the real potential for expensive, serious dental issues if using a solution that is too strong. Hydrogen peroxide is a risky option for at-home teeth whitening.
Ready to get serious about a safe, affordable home whitening system?
Most at-home teeth whitening tips that do not come from experts such as Smilelove, do not work. So now that you know more about what not to do when whitening your teeth at home, here’s what people are doing to get real results.
Smilelove’s premium whitening kit has everything you need to whiten your teeth at home. The kit includes one treatment of premium whitening and an LED accelerator light.
What sets Smilelove’s whitening kit apart? First, our professional quality whitening pens are more effective than whitening strips. Second, our accelerator light boosts our formula to brighten your smile faster.
Unlike the remedies in old wives’ tales, when you use Smilelove’s professional-grade whitening kit you are guaranteed to: