Going for Greener Whitening Treatments
Tooth whitening is big business. According to some studies, as many as 1 in 5 dental patients ask their dentists about tooth whitening, and about $2 billion a year is spent on whitening procedures. A large portion of those who seek tooth whitening treatments overdo it, which can lead to damaged enamel and even chemical burns on a patient’s gums. The chemicals involved in tooth whitening can be caustic. Many contain concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide that are above what the American Dental Association recommends. The highest concentration carbamide peroxide solution that the ADA will put their seal on is 10%, but some home treatments contain 15% or more. Tooth whitening treatments are not regulated, so, no safety regulations exist.
Besides safety concerns, there is always an environmental concern with packaging involved in store bought products. Making your own can help eliminate some of the plastic and cardboard that would otherwise wind up in the waste stream. And, using natural products can help you avoid the use of irritating chemicals included in dentist office tooth-whitening treatments.
What is the best at home tooth whitener? There are many good options available. If one does not work for you, try the next until you have one that is pleasant to use and gives you the results you desire.
Recipes for Homemade Tooth Whiteners
Homemade tooth whiteners have a number of advantages over both dentist office treatments, and storebought home treatments:
- they are far less expensive than either of the other options.
- they have less packaging than storebought whiteners.
- you can control what is in your whitening treatment.
There are a number of at home tooth whitening treatments you can try. Some of the ones that we recommend:
- Peroxide and baking soda. The simplest whitening treatment involves mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Brush as normal, using this mix instead of toothpaste. The baking soda acts as an abrasive with the peroxide gently bleaches your teeth.
- Lemon and salt. If you find the flavor of peroxide unpleasant, try adding some salt to fresh lemon juice, and using that as an after-brushing rinse. Three parts lemon juice to one part salt is a good mix. Be sure to rinse with water afterward, as the acid in the lemon juice can be harmful to tooth enamel if it stays on your teeth.
- Crushed strawberries. Smooth the crushed berries over your teeth, and let sit for 10 minutes. Strawberries contain malic acid, which helps whiten teeth.
In addition to the methods above, use careful daily maintenance to keep your teeth looking whiter. Floss regularly, and always rise your mouth with water after consuming coffee, red wine, or other foods and drinks that cause stains.
Some Store-Bought Options
If you feel more comfortable with store-bought options, there are a number available from producers who strive to use natural ingredients. These whitening toothpastes are less irritating than more intense whitening treatments. Some choices include:
- Tom’s of Maine Simply White Fluoride Toothpaste. Tom’s of Maine uses natural silica to whiten teeth. There is also a fluoride-free product for those who wish to avoid the use of fluoride.
- Burt’s Bees Whitening Toothpaste. This toothpaste is free of artificial colors and flavors, and comes in both fluoridated and fluoride-free varieties.
- Jason Powersmile CoQ10 Tooth Gel. This gel contains bamboo, calcium carbonate and silica to help make teeth whiter.
Remember, there is no one answer to the question “what is the best at home tooth whitener.” If any whitening product causes irritation, discontinue use to avoid damaging teeth or gums. Remember not to over-use any treatment, and keep up with regular hygiene to keep a healthy smile.