So many people want whiter than white teeth that many will often go to extremes to get it. Make no mistake – we love white teeth too and promote the use of whitening in our office, but when it comes to overdoing it, we have seen a few unfortunate mishaps arise from the DIY playbook.
Beautifying Teeth is Nothing New!
Having white, clean looking teeth isn’t a new fad. The Victorian were trending the whole arctic white teeth thing long before us. Unfortunately, they learned too late that the practice of rinsing with nitric acid may have given them blindingly white teeth, but it cost them their enamel along the way. Many were left with a mouthful of rotten stubby teeth soon afterwards. We see the same type of enamel erosion caused by stomach acids on the teeth of bulimic patients or on those who consume large quantity of acidic drinks.
And long before the Victorians, the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Asians were all using various items and methods to whiten and also cosmetically alter their teeth. So, beautifying teeth is nothing new, but we have come a long way since from the corner barber/dentist for a shave and a little dental work.
Moderation is a word we prefer, especially when we advise our patients about brightening up their smiles. Today, we are finding that patients are not only going to the extreme when it comes to whitening, but tooth brushing as well. Understanding that the beautiful sheen to your very calcified enamel needs to be protected, can go a long way when choosing what you will use to keep it bright & clean.
Although we know better today, the explosion of both credible and incredible online information can be both empowering and dangerous to those seeking a more convenient and holistic approach for their healthcare needs. Home remedies have been around forever and some are still with us because they have stood the test of time in both effectiveness and safety.
A quick search online will yield you all kinds of home remedies for healing or whitening teeth. Home dental care remedies may soothe or calm down an aggravating dental problem, but if the problems persists, you should see your dentist right away.
Attending to a dental issue while it is small is much easier to correct than allowing it to spread or get much worse. When using at-home whitening recipes you must be careful not to use ingredients that are highly abrasive to teeth or acidic enough to erode enamel. Acidic or course products can be very counter-productive in the long run as they wear away enamel with their corrosive or abrading properties. If you are considering whitening your teeth with an online remedy or DIY kit, we advise that you also consider discussing the benefits and risks with your dentist beforehand.
Everything in Moderation, including Abundance
Although, we’ve tried to warn people about the hazards of some of these remedies, we face a growing number of skeptical people – people who are dubious of our advice rather than these online claims. Unfortunately, they may not have seen the consequences firsthand as we have.
There are still many people who are diehards when is comes to using hard-bristled toothbrushes and what’s even harder is trying to convince them otherwise.
To some, it stands to reason that the harder the toothbrush, the more efficiently plaque and build-up can be removed from tooth surfaces. In fact, many people do not feel that they’re getting their teeth “clean” unless they are using a stiff, hard bristled toothbrush and scrubbing forcefully. Sometimes, we suspect that if Comet came out with a toothpaste, it would be a hit with some consumers. All kidding aside, you’ll also find all kinds of conspiracy theories online about the dental industry pedaling soft toothbrushes so that there WILL be buildup and cavities and destruction and that is unfortunate.
The idea behind soft bristled toothbrushes is that the softer the bristles, the more “splay” or flexibility the bristles have to really get at those hard to reach areas in and between teeth. And unlike hard bristles that can cut gum tissues and allow harmful bacteria into the bloodstream, soft bristle are gentle on your gums. What you’re looking for in a toothbrush is one that allows you to apply the ideal pressure and bristle action to both stimulates the gums and provide the necessary protection of these tissues. With hard bristles, it is almost impossible to avoid tissue trauma and eventual gum recession.
Important: Any buildup that cannot be removed with a soft or even medium toothbrush, will not come off without professional cleaning and scrubbing vigorously will only lead to damage of the supportive gum tissue that surrounds and protect the teeth. Even dentures do not need to be cleaned with a hard brush if they are being cleansed daily. Hard brushes can create scratches and grooves and remove that nice looking, buffed sheen on a denture.
How to Brush Properly
Holding your toothbrush to the gum line at a 45 degree angle, use very light pressured strokes in either a circular motion or a vibrating motion. Roll your toothbrush downwards towards the biting surface of the tooth. When you brush, your toothbrush should come in contact with your gums to adequately remove all the plaque where your gums meet your tooth. “Scrubbing” damages your gums even with a soft toothbrush. Using a hard brush doesn’t prevent tartar buildup. Tartar builds up because of ineffective tooth brushing. We have patients with the best of oral hygiene who still get build-up and need to come in for regular dental cleanings.
Do you ever wonder why that despite your efforts to brush and floss regularly you still end up with cavities and gum problems?
While good oral hygiene habits are essential for healthy teeth and gums , the spacing of meals is equally important. Minimizing the harmful attacks from the bacteria in our mouths go a long way in preventing the destruction of teeth and their supportive tissues. The severity of damage depends on how long and how frequent acids are allowed to be in contact with teeth. Sticking to 3 healthy meals a day and avoiding the urge to snack will reduce the number of acid attacks that dissolve enamel and allow the necessary time (4-5hours) for your mineral-rich saliva to neutralize your acidic mouth and repair the damage from bacterial acids. Learn more here: Getting the Upper Hand on Cavities
Your Partner in Dental Health
We are pleased that more patients are wanting to take an active role in their dental care by improving the look of their smiles. It’s easier than ever to get great looking teeth, but safety and moderation are the most important considerations for the health and longevity of Your Smile.