Twelve percent of U.S. adults ages 20 to 64 have not stepped foot inside of a local dentist office for more than five years! While some of this may be attributed to anxieties and legitimate dental fear, called odontophobia, some would-be patients place a little too much faith in at-home, do-it-yourself (DIY) dental cleaning and tooth whitening methods. What is the truth about DIY methods once and for all?
Method #1: Mix Strawberries With Baking Soda For An All-Natural Toothpaste
Several DIY supporters suggest skipping in-office procedures with some of the best dentists to mash up strawberries into a paste and mix with baking soda. From there, people advise using the concoction just like fluoride toothpaste. Is this a good idea? Professional teeth whitening dentists weigh in; the answer is no. First, there have been no scientific studies proving that this will work. Second, berries like strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries can actually stain the surface of your teeth. And, finally, regularly brushing with a fluoride toothpaste is one of the most effective ways to prevent stains, plaque buildup, cavities, and more.
Method #2: Rub Orange Peels On Your Teeth And Gums
The next at-home remedy suggests rubbing the whitish part of an orange peel all over your teeth. Oranges contain a solvent called d-limonene, which allegedly whitens teeth. There are a few problems, however. A study showed that this method only got rid of minor surface stains — and it took a long time to work (i.e. several months of rubbing teeth with orange peels), too. Moreover, general dentists warn that the peels may contain citric acid that will erode the enamel on your teeth.
Method #3: Rinse With Pure Lemon Juice And Salt
Once again, this is a big no-no. It may sound relatively harmless to swish lemon and salt water around in your mouth and spit it out again — but, once again, the citric acid in lemon juice can actually significantly erode the enamel on your teeth. Less enamel means a greater chance of infection, tooth decay, and/or tooth sensitivity.
The best dentists agree: at-home and/or DIY dental care is often ineffective and may flat-out harm your teeth. For the best results, ask your dentist and always opt for professional treatments rather that cleaning or whitening methods that supposedly work.