The Top 5 Teeth Whitening Mistakes

The Top 5 teeth whitening mistakes

One of the easiest ways to improve the look of your smile is by whitening your teeth. Luckily nowadays it is easier than ever to obtain whiter teeth. In addition to in-office whitening treatments, there are slo multiple over the counter treatments as well as other whitening treatments that can be completed at home. However just because these whitening procedures are done at home does not necessarily mean that they are safe. In fact, some can even be potentially dangerous. To prevent long-term damage to your oral health, here is some information about the top 5 most common teeth whitening mistakes and how to prevent them: 

Using Poorly-Fitted Whitening Trays

OTC whitening tray

Nowadays, one of the most common over the counter whitening methods are plastic trays that contain a whitening gel. These trays are then placed over the teeth for a certain amount of time and repeated every so often to obtain the desired results. One common mistake people make with this approach is that they don’t have the right size trays. Most kits are one-size-fits-all, which usually means that the trays do not fit properly. Poorly-fitted whitening trays can allow the whitening gel to leak, which makes the treatment less effective and also causes gum irritation. Instead, it is recommended to have your dentist custom fabricate your whitening trays using a dental impression of your mouth. This way, your trays will fit properly and be more effective. 

Overusing Whitening Strips

Whitening strips are another common over the counter whitening method that adheres thin strips containing whitening gel to the surface of the teeth. Like whitening trays, the strips are left in place for a certain amount of time and repeated as directed. One common mistake people make with this method is that they leave the strips on too long or use them more frequently to try and get better results. Unfortunately, overusing whitening strips does not increase their effectiveness. Instead, it just causes damage to the enamel and causes tooth sensitivity. For these reasons, it is recommended to only use whitening strips as directed. 

Using Acidic Liquids

scoop of baking soda and half a lemon by a toothbrush

One common DIY whitening method is to use lemon juice or vinegar as a whitener. Both lemon juice and vinegar can remove stains from the surface of the teeth, but using them as a whitener is a mistake. This is because lemon juice and vinegar contain strong acids that break down the mineral structure of tooth enamel. Simply stated, the harsh acids actually corrode the surface of your teeth, ultimately removing your enamel along with the stains. This can lead to many problems in the future and should be avoided altogether. 

Brushing with Baking Soda

Another common DIY whitening method is to brush with baking soda. Baking soda is another substance that has been known to whiten teeth and remove surface stains. However, baking soda is also abrasive and can damage tooth enamel, especially when it is used frequently. Instead of brushing with baking soda alone, it is recommended to use a whitening toothpaste that contains baking soda. 

Using Household Products

One final DIY whitening technique encourages the use of household products like hydrogen peroxide and/or bleach to whiten the teeth. Out of all the whitening mistakes you can make, this is by far the most dangerous. Not only can using these products be disastrous for your oral health, but they can also cause severe problems for your overall health. NEVER use household products for teeth whitening. 

Photo of Dr. Admar

Dr. Admar holds dual certificates — a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2010 from India and a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 2014 from Canada. He is now a full time practicing dentist in Kamloops where he provides a variety of services, including emergency dentistry. Dr. Admar spends hundreds of hours in continued dental education to stay up to date in cosmetic and implant dentistry and he has achieved several advanced qualifications.

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