We all want to have a beautiful, white smile. But for many of us, that can seem pretty hard to achieve. It’s normal for us to have teeth that are discolored as we get older, so we look for teeth whitening remedies to help us look younger and healthier.

The good thing about the Internet Age is that there are many of these techniques to be found. The bad thing is that many of these techniques aren’t just ineffective, they can be outright harmful to your teeth. Here are some of the more harmful techniques that are popular now and why you should avoid them.

Avoid These Teeth Whiteners

Charcoal Toothpaste

Charcoal toothpaste warrants the most attention because it’s so popular right now. Just last week it received a fresh endorsement from Drake. But there’s no evidence that it actually works. And it may be harmful to your teeth.

That’s because the charcoal is abrasive. It can damage your teeth and gums, especially if you brush with it regularly to try to increase whitening results. Now, it’s important to note that abrasive toothpastes can give short-term whitening results, but at a cost. Over the short term, the abrasives will wear away your stained enamel, making your teeth look whiter. But as too much enamel gets worn away, the interior of the tooth, called the dentin, will show through, making your teeth look permanently yellow, brown, or grey.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is supposed to have many health benefits, including whitening teeth. But this is among the worst things you can do to your teeth. That’s because apple cider vinegar (like all vinegars) is highly acidic. How acidic? Well, anything with a pH of 5.5 or less will dissolve your tooth enamel. Apple cider vinegar has a pH of 2.8-3.0, it’s much lower than that. Since each pH point is a power of 10 stronger acid, this means that apple cider vinegar is at least 300 times stronger than necessary to dissolve tooth enamel, which means that it can do serious damage in a relatively short period of time.

The effects of vinegar on your teeth are similar to abrasion. At first, your teeth might look a little whiter, but the cost is permanent enamel damage–and eventually your dentin will show through the enamel.

Strawberry and Baking Soda

Another common home recipe is making a toothpaste of strawberries and baking soda. This home whitening method has been scientifically proven to be ineffective. And it has been shown to cause significant damage to your teeth.

Combining Over-the-Counter Treatments

Over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whiteners have been proven to be safe and effective, although maybe not as effective as you want. But their safety has only been tested when used individually according to the label directions.

If you use OTC whiteners in combination with each other, in combination with dentist whitening, or otherwise in violation of the directions, you may be damaging your tooth enamel. As with other approaches, damaged enamel may look whiter at first, but it will end with your teeth looking permanently discolored.

The Most Effective Whitening

If you’re unhappy with discolored teeth and you’re looking for truly effective teeth whitening in the Detroit area, we can help. Please call (248) 656-2020 today for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at Rochester Advanced Dentistry.