The Dangers of DIY Whitening

Everybody dreams of having white sparkly teeth, but we all known that teeth whitening treatments and similar dental cosmetic procedures come at a price, and not all of us may be able to afford these treatments. This is why millions of people worldwide rely on DIY teeth whitening procedures, unaware of all the risks and dangers they expose themselves to with certain products.

“Ten ways to save money and whiten teeth at home”…

“Whitening tips your dentist doesn’t want you to know”…

“Tooth whitening the natural way – no dentists!” …Etc…

These irresponsible clickbait articles are all over the internet, Google “Home Tooth Whitening” and flick through a few of the results. It often happens that the tips on DIY teeth whitening are offered by people with no dental training whatsoever and so many people are being encouraged by these articles to bypass their dentists and try a cheaper/”more natural” homemade tooth scrub:

* Lemon juice mixed with salt and/or baking soda

* Apple vinegar

* Bananas

* Mashed strawberries

* Diluted household bleach

* Charcoal

* Hydrogen Peroxide…

We know that the potential stain-removing benefits are outweighed by the risk of damage to the teeth, gums or other dangerous side effects (diluted bleach, we’re looking at you!). Unfortunately most patients do not work with teeth and many are willing to try their luck with a homemade concoction.


Certain Substances Can Slowly And Permanently Erode The Enamel Of Your Teeth

Two of the most commonly used substances for DIY teeth whitening are hydrogen peroxide and bicarbonate, the latter being a highly abrasive product which can permanently damage your teeth if used incorrectly.

As you may already know, the tooth enamel is the substance that covers your teeth and gives them that shiny look – without the enamel, your teeth would be exposed and they would have a matte finish rather than a glossy and beautiful one. However, the tooth enamel is not there for purely aesthetic purposes, as it is there to also protect your teeth from decay in the long haul – if the enamel becomes eroded, your teeth are more exposed to yellowing and thinning, which will make the teeth whitening procedure increasingly more difficult.

You Can Severely Damage Your Gums 

If you use the hydrogen peroxide in a very high concentration, not only may it damage your enamel but it can also cause extensive damage to your gums, including gum infection. Any injury to your gum increases the risk for infection, which can have severe consequences both on your teeth and overall oral health, and on your budget. At the same time, this also significantly increases the risk for gum disease and heart disease – if you notice that your gums become red and inflamed or they even start to bleed right after you have whitened your teeth at home, it is important to consult your dentist right away, as you may have accidentally caused some damage to your gums.

You Can Accidentally Swallow The Teeth Whitening Substances 

Although enamel erosion and gum damage are serious issues that should not be neglected, there is nothing more dangerous than accidentally swallowing the hydrogen peroxide, which can cause extensive burns to your throat and stomach. As a matter of fact, thousands of people are rushed to the hospital every year after ingesting these dangerous substances.

Increased Risk For Tooth Sensitivity And Irritation

This risk actually goes hand in hand with the accidental enamel erosion – it is a known fact that both the approved, over the counter teeth whitening treatments and the household substances people use to whiten their teeth (such as the baking soda mentioned above) put you at risk of experiencing some degree of tooth irritation and sensitivity. However, this partly depends on the teeth structure of each individual, as some people are more likely to experience sensitivity than others, depending on certain factors such as the thickness of the enamel, the overall oral health status as well as the substances that were used for whitening and their intensity. The stronger the substance (and the longer the action period), the more likely you are to experience sensitivity and irritation.

Unapproved Teeth Whitening Procedures May Actually Have The Opposite Effect 

You would be surprised to find out that certain homemade treatments for teeth whitening do not whiten your teeth but, on the contrary, they actually make them even darker than they initially were. The mechanism of action is as follows: baking soda or a highly concentrated amount of hydrogen peroxide can damage the enamel which will make your teeth attract and retain the stains at a higher degree than they normally would. In other words, if you are not careful with these DIY treatments and you are a regular consumer of teeth staining foods (such as wine, cola, coffee, tea, other types of colored soda and juices, colored candy, colored sauces and spices and so on), then you are more likely to notice an increasing darkening of your teeth over the years.

The Bottom Line

Everybody should be aware of the risks they are putting themselves at before trying to whiten their teeth at home. The only safe and guaranteed way to get sparkly white teeth is by having professional whitening treatments at your dentist.

At Tewkesbury Dental, you can benefit from high-quality teeth whitening treatments applied by a fully qualified and experienced professional who uses only state of the art, safe technology.