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Is one of your new years resolutions to get a better smile this year? Maybe even a whiter smile? Thinking you want to try a home remedy you’ve read about on Pinterest? Well, maybe read this before starting any.

While getting a whiter smile is always nice, a healthy smile in also important; and they come in many shades! Though it’s tempting to think ingredients in our own kitchens could hold the key to a brighter smile. Still, just because a method is natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, DIY whitening can do more harm than good to your teeth. Here’s how:

Fruits::

Fiction:
The approach maintains you can make your teeth whiter and brighter using household staples that are naturally acidic (like lemons, oranges, apple cider vinegar), contain digestive enzymes (such as pineapple or mango) and something that is abrasive (like baking soda).

Fact: 
When eaten as usual, fruit is a great choice. However, fruit and vinegar contain acid, and you put your pearly whites at risk when you prolong their contact with your teeth or use them to scrub your teeth because acid can wear away your enamel. Enamel is the thin outer coating of your teeth that protects you from tooth sensitivity and cavities.

Scrubs::

Fiction:
These methods claim that scrubbing your teeth with ingredients like activated charcoal or a baking soda-hydrogen peroxide paste will bring a shine back to your smile.

Fact:

There is no evidence that shows dental products with charcoal are safe or effective for your teeth, according to the September 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. (<– Read about here)

Also, using materials that are too abrasive on your teeth can actually make them look more yellow. Enamel is what you’re looking to whiten, but if you’re using a scrub that is too rough, you can actually wear it away. When that happens, the next layer of your tooth can become exposed – a softer, yellow tissue called dentin.

Instead, choose a whitening toothpaste with the ADA seal of Acceptance. The seal lets you know the toothpaste you choose is safe, effective and won’t damage your teeth. Also another step to a HEALTHY smile!

Spices and Oils::

Fiction:
Swishing oils like coconut oil in your mouth (oil pulling) or using spices like turmeric can help whiten your teeth.

Fact:
There is no reliable scientific evidence to show oil pulling or turmeric whitens teeth. Save the oil and spices for healthy meals instead.

Still interested in natural teeth whitening?

The best natural ways to keep your teeth white are everyday healthy habits, including:

  • Brushing twice a day for two minutes
  • Use a whitening toothpaste with the ADA seal of Acceptance
  • Cleaning between your teeth once a day. (Yep, that means flossing)
  • Limiting foods that stain your teeth, like coffee, tea and red wine, soda
  • Not smoking or using tobacco
  • Regular visits to your dentist for checkups and cleanings