If you have stained teeth from smoking, excessive tea drinking, or other stains, you’ve probably thought about whitening your teeth. If you google how to whiten your teeth, you’re met with a smorgasbord of ideas, treatments, products, and opinions. We’re here to help you debunk the truth from fable when it comes to whitening your smile. 

Myth #1: Whitening Toothpaste is as Effective as a Professional Whitening Treatment
Whitening toothpaste might lead to a lighter shade of enamel, but whitening toothpaste cannot guarantee the same whiteness that professional whitening treatments can. The difference between whitening toothpastes and professional whitening gels is down to a chemical science. Whitening toothpastes can remove surface stains, but the toothpaste does not contain any bleach. On the other hand, professional gels contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide which lighten and affect the deeper layers of the tooth.

Myth #2: Coconut Oil Whitens Teeth
“Oil pulling” is a popular all-natural “treatment” that actually doesn’t have much proof in working. There are claims that the oil will pull stains from the teeth just by swishing coconut oil through your mouth, but it might just make your teeth greasier (and thus shiny) for a few minutes until your saliva clears the oil from your mouth.

Myth #3: Lemons Whiten Teeth 
If you have luck whitening teeth with lemons, it’s because the acid has worn the enamel off of your teeth! Dentin is much softer and decays much more quickly than enamel. It only takes a pH of 5.5 to begin demineralizing enamel, and a lemon juice’s pH is 2! It’s much healthier to swish mouthwash instead of lemon juice.

Myth #4: Professional Whitening is Expensive and Not Worth It
Professional whitening is really not as expensive as you would think. The prescription gel and custom trays outweigh the disappointment over-the-counter whitening options give. Call and ask us today what your custom trays and gel would cost!

Myth #5: Crowns Can Be Whitened
No matter what material your crown is made out of, they can’t be whitened. The porcelain or metal alloys cannot be tinted, so while it is safe from stains, it cannot be bleached. If you have crowns in the back of your mouth, the unevenness of color won’t be as noticeable. But, if you have porcelain crowns or veneers towards the front of your mouth, they’ll stick out as a darker shade of white. If you have crowns that stand out from the rest of your pearly white smile, we can replace those crowns with matching pigments to make your smile stand out.

Myth #6: It’ll Make My Teeth Too Sensitive 
Bleaching your teeth can make them sensitive, but the discomfort doesn’t last forever. Bleaching your teeth dehydrates them. Just like our skin, our teeth have super small pores to absorb fluids. When the teeth are dehydrated, they cannot insulate the nerve as effectively, thus causing sensitivity to cold and heat. As your teeth rehydrate over a few days from bleaching, the sensitivity should go away.

Myth #7 Teeth Whitening Ruins Your Tooth Enamel and Isn’t Safe.
Professional whitening products will not harm your tooth’s enamel when used properly. The whitening gel’s chemical properties travel through your tooth’s enamel and recolor the dentin underneath. Dentin is responsible for your teeth’s color, so by bleaching it, your teeth will appear more white. While the whitening process is quite gentle and not harmful, if you use your whitening gel too frequently, you could risk over whitening your teeth. Over whitening your teeth can cause increased sensitivity because your teeth are always dehydrated, gum sensitivity, eroding tooth enamel away,

and leaving your teeth with a translucent appearance instead of white. If you’ve noticed your teeth or gums have any of these symptoms, or you want to prevent over whitening, give us a call today to set up an appointment. Our dentists will set up a whitening plan to prevent over whitening and whiten your smile to your dream shade. 

Myth #8 Teeth Whitening Produces The “Hollywood” Smile
Movie stars have definitely set the bar for whiter teeth super high. Not only do many movie stars whiten their teeth, but they might also have a porcelain veneer added to their teeth to make them extra white and sparkly. Plus, with editing photos and video, you never know what movie star’s smiles look like in real life. Don’t worry about comparing yourself to someone you’ve never seen in person!

Myth #9 If You Whiten Your Teeth, You’ll Never Need to Whiten Them Again 
Bleaching your teeth only lasts so long. Overtime, your natural enamel coloring will return and it’s possible to continue to stain and re-stain your teeth. A few days after whitening, you may notice some of the whiteness fading, this is because as your teeth rehydrate, some of the natural tint will come back. Over the next few months, the whiteness will fade as your teeth become stained again.

Avoiding Teeth Stains

Even after whitening your teeth, you’re not immune to staining your teeth. In fact, if you already have pre-existing stains from smoking, or drinking coffee and wine, the whitening methods suggested may only lighten your teeth’s stains by a few shades. The best way to avoid staining is to quit smoking, limit exposure to teeth staining beverages, brush your teeth twice a day, and floss. By avoiding stains, you’ll have a better chance at maintaining a white smile for decades to come, and your teeth will respond better to bleaching methods.

Schedule an Appointment

Ready to start your teeth whitening journey? Let’s set up an appointment to create whitening trays and get started! If you have any more questions or concerns, we’re more than happy to help you find the best treatment for your unique situation. We hope to see you soon!