I’ve been looking at some alternatives for free teeth whitening, but I really want it to be natural. My teeth aren’t that bad, but I would love them to be a few shades brighter. One of the things I keep reading about is the use of lemons and oranges. Supposedly, if you use the essential oils or rub the peels on your teeth regularly, they work as a whitening agent. I figure it can’t hurt, so I might as well try it. Any idea if there is science behind this or how it works? Also, is it safe for long-term use or will the acid harm my teeth?
Although lemons are listed on some natural health sites as a way to whiten your teeth, it’s a really bad idea that can permanently damage your teeth. Let’s explain.
Teeth Can Be Discolored for Many Reasons
Tooth discoloration can be intrinsic or extrinsic. An intrinsic discoloration comes from within the tooth. For example, certain medications can make a tooth change color from the inside out. If a tooth dies, it may become gray. If your enamel becomes thin, perhaps due to age, brushing too hard, acid wear, or taking certain medications, the color of the dentin below may show through. Genetic factors can also have an effect. You may get extrinsic staining from certain habits, including drinking cola, coffee, tea, wine, and juice. Smoking is also a big culprit.
External Stains Don’t Usually Collect on Clean Teeth
Our teeth naturally build up plaque. This is actually a biofilm that forms when bacteria adheres to your teeth. If you’ve ever wadded in a river and felt a slippery rock, it was due to a type of biofilm. The biofilm on your teeth includes the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, which brushing twice daily is recommended. It is also important to get regular professional cleanings. When your teeth clean and smooth, the coloring in the foods you eat or drinks you consume are less likely to cling to your teeth. When your teeth build up biofilm, stains adhere. Your primary defense against staining is to keep your teeth clean. It might require limiting certain foods or drinks that are bad for your teeth.
What about Citrus Fruits for Teeth Whitening?
Citrus fruits can brighten your teeth because the acid in them kills bacteria. Apple cider vinegar is also routinely touted as a cure for discolored teeth, but it contains acetic acid.
Acids are Bad News for Your Enamel
Eventually, the acid will weaken your tooth enamel wear it down over time. As you lose enamel, the discoloration will likely worsen and your teeth can become sensitive and more prone to decay. Worse yet, once the enamel is gone, it will not regrow. Your dentist can help with some of the issues that occur, but the enamel will be permanently affected.
Use Professional Whitening Systems
There are many natural “cures” for stained teeth, but they are often dangerous. Before you try do-it-yourself methods, talk to your dentist about what he or she recommends, or use a professional system that has been tested and is safe.
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy. Learn more about her Plano free teeth whitening special here.