Teeth whitening is a hugely popular treatment, driven by cosmetic trends and influencers, with many people choosing it to create a happier and healthier appearance. As a result, there are now plenty of dentists offering the treatment, as well as a huge surge in the number of online teeth whitening kits available which you can easily buy.
But, one of the issues with unregulated dentists and home whitening kits offering teeth whitening is that they can be hugely harmful to your teeth and oral health. This, paired with the numerous teeth whitening myths that circulate on social media and in friendship groups, can make teeth whitening a potentially damaging treatment.
Trying to separate myths from facts with teeth whitening has never been more difficult, with new myths appearing in circulation regularly. Figuring out which teeth whitening treatments are the most effective and, most importantly, which treatment is the safest can be hard. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 5 teeth whitening myths that you shouldn’t believe.
Teeth Whitening Will Damage Your Enamel
Most teeth whitening products that you can buy online can damage your teeth enamel. This is because these kits can either contain higher than safe levels of active ingredients which can then cause your enamel to thin and lead to sensitivity, or too little which means that the treatment will be ineffective. However, professional teeth whitening carried out at your local cosmetic dentist in Wakefield or alternative practice will not cause damage to your tooth enamel.
Teeth whitening should only be carried out by a dental professional. It is a form of dentistry and as such, treatment should only be done in a regulated practice. There are some beauty salons that now offer teeth whitening treatment, but these should be avoided at all costs as the practitioners will likely be unregulated and not well-practised in the procedure. In the procedure carried out by a dentist, they will provide the most effective treatment and results.
Teeth Whitening Results Last Forever
Many people believe that, once they’ve had teeth whitening, the results last a lifetime. This, unfortunately, isn’t correct. Teeth whitening isn’t a one-treatment procedure. It is something that needs to be done regularly to maintain the results you wish to achieve. After your first treatment for teeth whitening, it is unlikely that you will ever revert back to the shade that your teeth were prior to the treatment, however the results will dull over time.
This is because our day-to-day lives are unlikely to support and maintain consistent and ongoing whitening results. Foods such as tomato-based sauces, drinks like red wine, coffee and tea and habits such as smoking and vaping can all lead to teeth staining and yellowing. With teeth whitening treatments, your dentist will likely recommend that you revisit for treatment every 4-6 months, however, some teeth whitening treatments offer longer-lasting results. These can be discussed further with your dentist who can offer further advice or suggestions.
Rubbing Fruit On Your Teeth Can Remove Stains
There is a myth that says rubbing fruit on your teeth can remove stains and yellowing. People have tried rubbing lemons, banana peel and strawberries in an attempt to get a brighter, whiter smile, but does this work? Unfortunately not. Rubbing fruit on your teeth in an attempt to remove stains will not work, but it can also cause your enamel to weaken and wear away over time. This, in effect, can actually cause your teeth to yellow and become discoloured.
If you really want to remove stains from your teeth, then it’s best to get professional advice from your dentist who can suggest treatments or toothpastes to improve the appearance of your smile. Brushing your teeth after meals can also help, but you should leave around 20 minutes after finishing before doing so, especially if you have consumed acidic foods. Acid can soften your enamel and brushing your teeth too soon after can wear your teeth down further.
Active Charcoal Can Whiten Teeth
Social media influencers regularly praise charcoal and the amazing effects it can have with whitening teeth. It can be tempting to try every treatment you see on social media, especially if people are going on about the results it has apparently generated for them. Charcoal, however, can be very abrasive – it has long been used as an ingredient in cleaning products.
If you are considering using charcoal dental products, then it is recommended that you apply the product by gently rubbing the product into your teeth with your finger, as opposed to a toothbrush which can only cause further abrasion. Even still, it’s best to use whitening toothpaste recommended by your dentist, which can remove stains and seal dental enamel, helping to prevent new stains.
On this note, many people believe that whitening toothpastes are the safest option when it comes to teeth whitening. But, some are too abrasive and they can wear away the outer enamel of the teeth, revealing the inner dentine which is yellow in natural appearance.
Teeth Whitening Can Cause Tooth Sensitivity
Importantly, teeth whitening shouldn’t cause pain or discomfort. If, following home teeth whitening treatments or treatment carried out by an unregulated individual, you are experiencing stinging, burning, irritation or increased sensitivity, then you should either stop the treatment immediately or seek the help of your dentist.
Following professional teeth whitening, it is completely normal to experience some degree of teeth sensitivity in the first 24-48 hours following your treatment, but in some cases, this can be managed by using certain formulas or ongoing treatments. Patients may report feelings of sensitivity due to the hydrogen peroxide, which is an ingredient used in many whitening treatments, and the way in which this coats and soaks into your tooth enamel. This briefly exposes the nerves within your dentine, causing the sensitivity.
Should you continue to experience increased sensitivity or short, sharp bouts of pain when drinking or eating hot and cold items, brushing your teeth or consuming sweet or acidic items, then it’s best to arrange an appointment with your dentist.
Dealing With Dental Myths
There are myths about almost everything in life, but when it comes to medical treatments such as teeth whitening, then it is always best to get professional advice in order to dispel these myths and protect your health. Dental myths can put your oral health at increased risk and may cause further or long-lasting damage to your teeth which can lead to expensive restorative treatment.
Dental enamel and natural dentine cannot be replaced, so it is important to protect these materials for as long as is possible. When it comes to potentially harmful or damaging treatments such as home or unregulated teeth whitening, it’s important to learn as much as possible beforehand.