I am interested in whitening my teeth and have been researching ways to do it myself. The more natural options continue to appeal to me. My teeth aren’t in terrible condition, but I would be happy if they were a little brighter. The lemon and orange method to whitening continues to jump out at me. They say if you use the essential oils in these fruits, or rub the peels on your teeth daily, the method works as a whitening agent. How does this help? What causes the fruit to whiten my teeth?
While this, indeed, is a solution promoted by natural health resources, it can cause permanent damage to your teeth for several reasons.
- There are many reasons for tooth discoloration. The discoloration of teeth can be intrinsic, which comes from inside the tooth, or extrinsic coming from outside. When a tooth dies, it becomes gray. Age, genetic factors, hard brushing, acidic wear, or some medications, can all cause discoloration to show through. Extrinsic stains are often the result of habits such as drinking soda, coffee, tea, wine, or juice. Smoking can also cause the change in color.
- Clean teeth don’t usually have external staining. Teeth build up a natural layer of plaque. This is similar to the slippery film on a rock in a river or a lake. This plaque layer is called biofilm and it includes bacteria that can cause tooth decay or gum disease. Brushing twice a day and visiting your general dentist regularly can ensure none of the biofilm stays on teeth. Coloring from food or drinks won’t have much to stick to when teeth are clean. It is when the biofilm builds up that the stains tend to last. Regular dental hygiene is the best way to prevent this buildup.
- Citrus fruits do whiten teeth. Citrus fruits can brighten teeth, mainly due to their citric acid killing the bacteria. Apple cider vinegar can also be used on discolored teeth, but does have acetic acid.
- Acids can damage tooth enamel. The acid in the above cures will weaken and wear down the enamel on teeth, magnify the discoloration of teeth, cause them to become more sensitive, and make them more susceptible to decay. Unfortunately, once tooth enamel goes away, there is no way to get it back. Some sources suggest using oil or a water rinse to weaken the impact of the acid, but this is not a guarantee. The best choice would be not to use the methods which involve acid at all.
- Use professional whitening. It is important to discuss any of the natural cures to the stained teeth with your dentist first. Determine what he or she thinks is best, or, better yet, find a dentist who does teeth whitening, and know that it is a tested and safe method.
This blog is sponsored by Baton Rouge teeth whitening dentist, Dr. Ryan Perry.