From YouTube videos to natural health blog sites, everyone is claiming you don’t need your dentist to have healthier, whiter teeth. These homemade remedies may be natural, cheap and seemingly innocent, but do these homemade remedies really work? One Iowa University dental researcher, Dr. So Ran Kwon, decided to put a popular homemade whitening regimen to the test with other conventional teeth whitening methods to find out.
Comparing over-the-counter whitening products with professional in office whitening and professionally supervised whitening products, a homemade strawberry-and-baking soda recipe for whitening was found to be the least effective in whitening teeth. While it did remove superficial surface stains from teeth, it did not produce that deep, long-lasting effect delivered by more traditional methods. Apparently the homemade remedy did not efficiently penetrate the enamel to oxidize and break down tough stain molecules.
Using organic strawberries and baking soda, researchers rubbed 20 newly-extracted teeth with the natural treatment for 5 minutes followed by a gentle brushing. This routine was repeated 3 times a day for 10 days. Yet, based on color measurement tests with a spectrophotometer the teeth brushed with the strawberry and baking soda mixture showed no real whitening effect. Three other sets of 20 teeth were given the more traditional whitening treatments. When compared to those 20 given the homemade whitener, all three sets of teeth given the conventional whitening methods were noticeably whiter.
Why didn’t the strawberries-and-baking soda mixture work as a dental whitener?
There is no denying that strawberries are delicious. But they just lack the chemistry needed to be effective teeth whiteners. The key ingredients to any effective whitening method are carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide, both of which break down to water and oxygen. It is this oxygen that oxidizes and breaks down tooth stains. However, strawberries do contain citric acid, a known acidic ingredient that can dissolve tooth enamel. In the study Dr. Kwon learned that the mixture reduced the surface hardness of the teeth given the homemade mixture by up to 10 percent.
These acids found in many fruits are not effective whiteners. Other fruits like apples and lemons have also been promoted as natural teeth whiteners. But these fruits contain citric acid as well and would probably produce the same results as the strawberries if tested.
What about Baking Soda alone as a natural teeth whitener?
It seems that we can’t stop hearing about how baking soda is the perfect “household” remedy. From cancer to upset stomachs, baking soda or sodium bicarbonate has been promoted by many alternative practitioners as both natural and effective.
As we all know baking soda has long been a stand-by to traditional toothpaste in a pinch. It’s particularly helpful in neutralizing the acidic environment found in the oral microbiology that makes up dental plaque. Another advantage to baking soda is that as a mild abrasive it’s pretty effective in removing surface stains from your tooth enamel. Although it doesn’t contain fluoride, it can, to a certain extent, brighten your smile and reverse a small amount of discoloration. If you do decide to use baking soda as part of your tooth brushing routine, the ADA recommends that you include a tooth paste with fluoride as part of your daily regimen to fight plaque as well.
If you’re looking for a more permanent solution for a dazzling white smile, you can choose from custom made precision bleaching trays supervised and guided by our staff on a weekly basis to ZOOM In-office bleaching. Both techniques work great (much better than over the counter whiteners), but hands down the absolute, most terrific option is to do a combination of the two. This combination produces life changing results!
At Dr. Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD, PC, we have all the most effective advancements available for teeth whitening that will fit your budget and lifestyle. It’s our job to help you make good dental decisions and provide the best possible options. Give us a call today at 248-356-8790 and find out how truly easy it is to finally get the smile you’ve always wanted.
Until Next Time,
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
Your Southfield Family Dentist
Tel: (248) 356-8790