DIY Teeth Whitening: Facts Vs. Fiction

Wayne NJ Dentist Shares DIY Teeth Whitening Facts Vs Fiction

DIY Teeth Whitening

Have you ever considered undergoing some teeth whitening to shape up your smile?

If so, then you know there are plenty of options available to you.

Teeth whitening may very well be one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments, in particular around the Holidays, on Valentine’s Day, and for Prom season.

Invariably around those times, we get a lot of questions about teeth whitening, but these are two we tend to hear most often.

“What is the most effective way to whiten my teeth?”

“Do those whitening strips sold at the supermarket really work?”

Is DIY Teeth Whitening Fact or Fiction?

You may have noticed that there are plenty of different methods for whitening your teeth, from professional treatments like ZOOM! that are only performed by your dentist, to strips, gels & trays you can do yourself.

Then, of course, there are all of the latest and greatest teeth whitening fads that are often featured online, on TV talk shows, and in magazines.

Three of the most popular teeth whitening fads over the past few years are oil pulling, using activated charcoal products, and the use of turmeric.

It’s no surprise that DIY teeth whitening is all the rave these days, but a healthy smile isn’t always the whitest smile.

According to the ADA, when the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked people what they’d most like to improve their smile, the most common response was whiter teeth.

“6 out 10 people believe a whiter, brighter smile would boost their self-confidence especially in the 18 to 24 age range.”

But are these DIY teeth whitening products effective?

Furthermore, are they even safe?

Ultimately, no over-the-counter or DIY teeth whitening method will be more effective or safer than getting your teeth professionally whitened at your dentist’s office.

There are plenty of reasons why your venture into DIY teeth whitening may not deliver the results you were hoping for, and there are even more reasons why you should check with your dentist before opting for DIY teeth whitening.

All of these reasons ultimately come down to one primary reason, your dentist and only your dentist can best determine which teeth whitening option is best for you.

There are even plenty of reasons why teeth whitening won’t even work, so that’s why you should check with your dentist before potentially wasting your time & money on DIY teeth whitening.

With that said, let’s dispel some more dental health myths and separate the teeth whitening facts from fiction.

Facts Vs. Fiction: 3 DIY Teeth Whitening Methods Exposed

Sure, it sounds simple, easy and less expensive to grab some common or readily available household items and get to the DIY teeth whitening, but that’s just not the case.

And just because something is pitched as “natural teeth whitening,” doesn’t mean it’s healthy – or effective.

In fact, some products or methods can do more harm than good. Here are three of the most popular DIY teeth whitening methods we hope to dissuade you from trying.

Activated Charcoal Products


Teeth whitening products containing activated charcoal make all sorts of claims, but basically, they promise to give you a whiter, brighter smile by simply brushing, rinsing, or scrubbing your teeth with their particular paste or powder.


Bottom line, there is no evidence that shows dental products containing activated charcoal are safe or effective.

According to the September 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association:

“Dental clinicians should advise their patients to be cautious when using charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices with unproven claims of efficacy and safety.”

These DIY teeth whitening products contain ingredients that can be too abrasive to your teeth and can even make your teeth look more yellow due to the erosion of the tooth enamel.

If you’re using an activated charcoal product that is too abrasive, you actually wear away your tooth enamel.

And once your tooth enamel is gone it’s gone for good.

Rather than using an activated charcoal product to whiten your teeth, talk with your dentist, and choose a whitening toothpaste that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance on it.

That ADA Seal means the toothpaste is safe AND effective.

Lemon Juice & Baking Soda


Have you heard about the DIY teeth whitening trend using common household ingredients like lemons, oranges or apple cider vinegar combined with an abrasive ingredient like baking soda?

Supposedly this natural DIY teeth whitening method involves mixing the baking soda & acidic fruit into a paste which is then applied to your teeth.


DIY teeth whitening with baking soda and lemon juice is not good for your teeth.

“Baking soda and lemon juice are the equivalent of using Ajax on your bathtub.” – Dr. Gerry Curatola

The abrasive nature of baking soda will actually abrade your teeth. Lemon juice is very acidic and will erode your teeth. Together they can have a very destructive effect on your tooth enamel, much like whitening with activated charcoal products. Again, once your tooth enamel is lost, it is lost forever.

Coconut Oil & Turmeric powder


Turmeric toothpaste is a DIY teeth whitening recipe.

A common DIY teeth whitening recipe consists of one part coconut oil, one part baking soda and two parts turmeric powder.

Mix all of these ingredients together, and slather the slurry on your grill regularly and watch your teeth whiten before your eyes.


As with the two previous DIY teeth whitening methods, there is no reliable scientific evidence illustrating the effectiveness of whitening your teeth with coconut oil & turmeric.

Instead, use the oils and spices for cooking and choose a more reliable, safe & effective way to whiten your teeth.

The Best Teeth Whitening Methods

Hands down the absolute best way to whiten your teeth is at your dentist.

Professional teeth whitening by your dentist is the most effective, and the safest way to whiten your smile, save the DIY stuff for backyard projects, not your dental & overall health.

The best way to maintain a sparkling white smile is to prevent yellowing or stained teeth in the first place.

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes
  • Use a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance
  • Cleaning between your teeth once a day
  • Limiting foods that stain your teeth, like coffee, tea and red wine
  • Not smoking or using tobacco
  • Regular visits to your dentist for checkups and cleanings

If you are interested in trying a particular teeth whitening product or service, talk to your dentist before you begin.

Only then can you be 100% sure that you’re making the most effective & healthiest choice.

There are at-home bleaching options that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which means they’ve been tested to be safe and effective for your teeth. Here is a list of all ADA-Accepted at-home bleaching products.

ZOOM! Teeth Whitening In Wayne NJ: Frank V. Maldonado, D.D.S.

We proudly provide ZOOM! teeth whitening, in addition to all phases of Cosmetic Dentistry services for Wayne and the surrounding North Jersey communities of Franklin Lakes, Montville, Kinnelon, Oakland, Pompton Lakes, Pompton Plains, Towaco, Butler, Paterson, Lincoln Park, Pequannock, Little Falls and Fairfield.

A bright, beautiful smile can make a big difference. The ZOOM! Whitening System makes it easier and faster than ever before.

The entire procedure takes just over one hour. The procedure begins with a preparation period followed by one hour of bleaching. A five-minute fluoride treatment completes the procedure (we recommend a cleaning prior to the actual Zoom! Whitening session).

A new beautiful smile is just a phone call away…schedule your appointment today at (973) 694-8625.

Compassionate Care. Modern Technology. Exceptional Results.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Dental Patient News and has been republished here with permission. It has since been updated for accuracy & comprehensiveness.

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