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It is one of the must-have beauty goals of the last couple of decades, but the pressure to have white teeth is no laughing matter. The cost of having your teeth professionally whitened has people try all sorts of weird and wacky techniques themselves, some safer and more palatable than others. But what products really do work in the quest for obtaining whiter than white pearly whites? And are there any products that could actually damage your teeth? 
 
Here’s our helpful guide to navigating the world of DIY teeth whitening. 
 
Hydrogen peroxide 
 
We all know that messing around with bleach can be dangerous. After all, there’s a reason that there’s a child safety cap on every bottle of bleach these days! However, hydrogen peroxide is a known product for whitening your teeth. For effective DIY teeth whitening, people can use hydrogen peroxide as a rinse or paste to noticeably whiten their teeth quickly. 
 
 
Turmeric 
 
Anyone who has cooked a curry from scratch knows how deeply turmeric stains every single one of your kitchen utensils that it touches, and yet it is alleged to be a very effective tooth whitening product for use at home. Turmeric is also scientifically proven to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and even cancer, as well as being an anti-inflammatory. Whilst turmeric has certainly been proven to help a wide range of health conditions, sadly there is little evidence that it does whiten your teeth. In fact, any evidence of tooth whitening after turmeric has been used is often attributed to the other products that it has been mixed with, such as baking powder. Baking powder is abrasive, so it scratches off the top layer of the tooth thereby removing any stains. This is also why baking powder should be used with caution as it can ultimately damage the enamel of your teeth. 
 
Oil pulling 
 
Oil pulling has long been used in Asian cultures as a means of thoroughly cleaning their teeth. Traditionally sesame oil was used, however people are turning to extra virgin coconut oil today in a bid to combat the bacteria that create the thin biofilm in your mouth that is known as plaque. The theory behind oil pulling is simple – “when you swish the oil around your mouth, the bacteria get swept away and dissolve in the liquid oil”
 
Baking Powder 
 
Whilst it is a brilliant natural product thereby being very eco-friendly, it is abrasive. As it is abrasive, it will remove stains, but it will also wear down your teeth, damaging the enamel of your teeth. Our advice is if you are going to use baking powder, use it with caution. 
 
Charcoal 
 
As with baking powder, charcoal is abrasive and therefore it can actually cause more problems than it cures. In recent years, charcoal has become a very fashionable product for all sorts of areas designed to heighten one’s appearance from charcoal face masks to charcoal body scrubs but there is no scientific evidence that it has any benefits for your teeth. In fact charcoal is more likely to wear down your tooth enamel
 
Over the counter teeth whitening kits 
 
As long as you follow the instructions carefully, over the counter tooth whitening kits are a quick and cost effective way to brighten up your smile. However, we always recommend speaking with your dentist before using any products on your teeth. 
 
Eat and Drink Well 
 
The most effective thing that you can do to whiten your teeth is to eat and drink well. Cut down on anything that stains your teeth and try to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. 
 
Brush and floss regularly 
 
It’s the one piece of advice that we keep coming back to, but simply brushing your teeth thoroughly for two minutes every day and flossing regularly will work wonders for your smile. 
 
As with all other issues relating to the overall health of your mouth and teeth, Fourways Dental Surgery is happy to help you with any advice or tips that you might need. Call us on 01732 882413. 
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