Alternative Teeth Whiteners

Is DIY Worth the Risk?

In the ongoing quest to find methods for making teeth a few shades whiter, both R&D labs and diehard do-it-yourselfers periodically develop ideas that they fully endorse. They practically swear on products that apparently make your breath fresher or make your teeth straighter or whiter. in recent years, social media has promulgated charcoal and baking soda as alternatives to traditional toothpaste. They say using these products make your teeth whiter than other methods. Is that true?

Charcoal as Tooth Whitener?

Activated charcoal binds to toxins and odors on a molecular level, keeping them contained so they cannot cause harm. In managed doses, activated charcoal helps absorb dangerous substances that were ingested before they do any permanent damage. The absorbent properties of charcoal makes it a decent addition to facemasks and water filters. But some people claim those absorbent properties also remove and lock away things that stain your teeth, thereby restoring their natural whiteness. None of the claims about improving your dental health either on a functional or cosmetic scale have been verified by authorities like the American Dental Association (ADA). In fact, the ADA reports insufficient data from any literature to substantiate the claims of charcoal-infused products. Many charcoal products are actually too abrasive, causing unnecessary harm to your tooth enamel. It’s much safer to use a whitening toothpaste that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Your dental staff at the Yuba City Dentistry Group is happy to help you choose these products.

Baking Soda as Toothpaste

Using ample amounts of backing soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate) can also harm your teeth, since it is even more abrasive than charcoal. Unlike some claims, it does not directly kill bacteria in your mouth, and it does not directly whiten your teeth. It can, however, help to create an alkaline environment in your mouth, which discourages bacteria from growing. It can also scrub away surface stains on your teeth, letting the natural white shine through a little easier. In essence, the claims for baking soda in toothpaste are based on mild benefits, but they are commonly blown out of proportion.

Using a baking soda paste as a toothpaste alternative can help clean your teeth if mixed properly, but keep in mind that it will not have fluoride to help with remineralization of your tooth enamel. Also, brushing with straight sodium bicarbonate doesn’t taste good at all. Interestingly, there are certain toothpastes containing baking soda that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance. These toothpastes have a decent amount of baking soda, fluoride, and flavor to hit all three bases on the way to an oral hygiene home run.

Ask the Experts About Toothpastes

Whenever it comes to do-it-yourself dental techniques or products, or lavish social media claims about oral hygiene alternatives, it’s always best to get a professional opinion. The Yuba City Dentistry Group keeps up to date on the latest dental trends and findings for the best oral care available. If you have any questions about charcoal, baking soda, or other products for your oral hygiene, drop us a line over the phone or contact us using our online form here on our website.


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