Everyone wants a healthy, mega-watt smile! But in the pursuit of sparkling Hollywood-white teeth, safety should always come first. Especially when it comes to trying out DIY teeth whitening remedies.
Dr Mihir Shah, head dentist at Battersea Park Dental gives us the expert tips on what NOT to do at home.
Teeth whitening no-nos
Have you heard the old wives tales of the kitchen cupboard staples that can whiten your teeth? These remedies are neither safe nor effective says Dr Shah.
‘Products like baking soda are mild abrasives, which will remove surface stains from your teeth, making them appear whiter, but not actually changing the colour of them,’ she says. ‘Long term use of these can irreversibly damage your enamel. They can also make teeth very sensitive.’
And other DIY remedies such as using lemon juice on teeth are even worse. ‘These are acidic and will strip enamel from teeth. Seeing a dentist for whitening is the only way to be sure you are not damaging your teeth,’ advises Dr Shah.
And whitening isn’t the only way you can damage your teeth at home.
Dental experts say these are also to be avoided
At-home invisible braces
Tempted to buy at-home braces without physically sitting in a dentist’s chair? Doing it this way makes it difficult to predict the outcome of the teeth straightening treatment says Dr Shah.
“Poor orthodontic planning can have disastrous results resulting in gums receding and loose teeth,” she says. “When you visit a dentist, pre-treatment x-rays are taken as well as full assessment of the strength of the teeth, health and quality of the supporting gums. More importantly, there’s a discussion with the patient to find out their goals.”
Flossing with random objects
You’d be surprised what people use to clean between their teeth says Dr Shah. Believe or not, items such as hair, plastic, and string are sometimes used to floss.
“Cleaning in between your teeth daily is as important as brushing. Gums are delicate and need to be treated with care. Using items other than floss or interdental brushes can do more damage than good,” she warns.
Try DenTek Sensitive Clean Floss Picks (£6.00, Boots) and the DenTek Easy Brush Interdental Cleaners (£4.00, Boots) – both recommended to help remove food and fight against plaque and bad breath.
DIY teeth repairs
Got a chipped or cracked tooth? The advice is to head straight to the dentist.
“There’s usually a reason the tooth has cracked or chipped in the first place and this needs to be identified and treated appropriately or it may happen again,” says Dr Shah. Meddling with a tooth at home, can trap food or bacteria to get trapped under filling, causing the tooth to decay and ultimately lead to pain, infection or even tooth loss.
“If you’re unable to see a dentist immediately, keep the tooth as clean as possible, but do not attempt to repair it at home,” says Dr Shah.
Dr Shah supports oral care specialists, DenTek.