3 Myths about Natural Teeth Whitening

By Erica Loop in Natural Products

Natural teeth whitening is possible. But this doesn't mean every method leads to a brilliantly glam, glowing smile. Is a natural whitening toothpaste product the way to go—or should you dig through your kitchen for citrus fruits, oils, and other everyday ingredients? Before you slather homemade recipes across your not-so-pearly whites, learn about some common myths related to teeth whitening.

Myth 1: Citrus Fruits Will Brighten Your Teeth

Lemon juice can lighten hair in the summer sun. But does it make your teeth brighter? Think of this supposed whitening strategy as an urban legend.

Lemons, oranges, grapefruit, and other similar citrus selections are highly acidic. The myth goes something like this: the acid in these fruits is said to have an abrasive effect that can remove stains from the surface of teeth. Like magic, the acidic citrus scrubbing reverses years of lattes and glasses of Merlot. Or does it?

Even though the acid-whitening connection may seem plausible, citrus fruit won't erase stains or solve discoloration, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Not only will citrus not whiten your smile, but the fruits or juices can actually put your teeth at risk for enamel erosion. A study published in the journal General Dentistry found that lemon juice damaged dental enamel. This outer coating is exactly what you want to whiten. But instead of adding a new pearly sheen, citrus has the opposite effect.

As enamel wears away, the underlying material shows through. Known as dentin, this layer has a yellowish appearance. Along with yellowing, enamel erosion leaves your teeth open to dental decay and potential infections.

Orange slices

Myth 2: Oil Pulling Helps to Whiten Teeth

Like citrus, oil use is another natural teeth whitening option that's more of a myth than a method. This natural—but not-so-scientific—strategy requires an edible oil and some serious swishing. Whether you choose coconut, sesame, sunflower, or another oil, pulling supposedly washes away oral bacteria and whitens teeth as you move the liquid around in your mouth.

According to a 2018 article published in the British Dental Journal, there is little to no evidence supporting the use of oil pulling as a natural whitening method. The ADA also cites the lack of reliable scientific studies on the subject and doesn't recommend pulling as part of a dental health routine.

Myth 3: Tooth Scrubbing Removes Stains

Can you manually scrub away the stains on your teeth? While brushing with a mildly abrasive toothpaste can remove some light surface staining, it won't take your teeth from dull and drab to bold and bright.

Over-brushing or seriously scrubbing your teeth can do more harm than good, making this whitening myth something to avoid. Even though a regular oral care routine should include brushing, extra pressure can damage sensitive gum tissue, according to the ADA. This means you may scrub away some of your gums before you remove coffee, tea, wine, soda, or other stains.

Stick to Natural Whitening Toothpaste

If you can't rely on citrus, oil, or a rough scrubbing, is there any natural way to whiten your teeth? A natural toothpaste choice is an easy option for natural teeth whitening.

In a 2020 study published in the International Journal of Clinical Preventative Dentistry, researchers looked at the benefits of ingredients such as hydrated silica as whitening agents. The study found that hydrated silica can effectively white teeth. A natural toothpaste product with hydrated silica and other naturally derived ingredients may give you the brighter smile you're looking for.

Tom's of Maine whitening toothpaste

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Why It's Good

Natural teeth whitening is an easy way to continue your commitment to a healthy lifestyle while looking good. Give yourself the bright white smile you deserve in a way that meshes with your philosophy on personal care products.