The Truth About “Natural” Teeth-Whitening Fads
Posted on 09/24/2019

What would you do to achieve a shining white smile? While the best option for teeth whitening is seeing your cosmetic dentist, many people try to use home remedies to lighten the color of their teeth. Some people swear by these natural whiteners, but are they really effective? Or are they simply fads without scientific evidence to back them up? Learn the scientific truth behind these claims from your Short Pump family dentists.

Orange Peels

Orange peels are a popular teeth whitening method because they contain the natural solvent d-limonene, an ingredient included in some kinds of toothpaste and whiteners. Rubbing orange peels on your teeth may help to remove some surface stains, but you run the risk of damaging your teeth with this method. Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are acidic, and that acidity can wear away at the enamel of your teeth.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a common ingredient in toothpastes and is well-known for its whitening power. This whitening potential has led to people mixing it with water and applying the solution directly to their teeth. Because baking soda is abrasive, it can work to reduce surface stains. However, it's abrasive nature also damages enamel. When the enamel is worn away, a soft, yellow tissue called dentin is exposed.

Another common whitening method using baking soda involves mixing it with crushed strawberries. Using this method poses the risk of strawberry seeds getting stuck in your teeth. Leftover food particles can contribute to tooth decay, so this method is not recommended.


Activated charcoal has become all the rage in recent years, making its way into skin and hair care products, soaps, and toothpastes. Because activated charcoal can bind to substances, people selling dental products with activated charcoal as an ingredient claim it can whiten teeth. An article in the Journal of the American Dental Association examined studies that used charcoal on teeth and concluded that there was insufficient data to substantiate the claims of charcoal's therapeutic properties. Additionally, similar to other dental fads, charcoal's abrasive nature has the potential to wear away at your enamel.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is the practice of swishing a tablespoon of coconut, olive, sunflower or other oil around in your mouth for up to 20 minutes a day. This is an old practice dating back hundreds of years. It's used to pull bacteria out of the crevices in your mouth, and practitioners of oil pulling claim it can whiten teeth and improve oral health. While this is a long-standing practice, there is no clear scientific evidence that these claims are true.

Teeth Whitening Kits

When considering using teeth whitening kits, it's important to note that many kits you find on the market have not been thoroughly tested. While teeth whitening done under the supervision of a trained cosmetic dentist is the safest and most effective option, if you decide to use teeth whitening kits, make sure they display the American Dental Association's seal of approval.

The Benefits of Teeth Whitening Through Your Cosmetic Dentist

The safest and most effective way to whiten your teeth is to do so professionally with your cosmetic dentist. At Short Pump Dental, we use a hydrogen peroxide-based bleaching method for our safe and effective teeth whitening treatment. This method takes only a single visit and can lighten your teeth by up to eight shades. As the hydrogen peroxide breaks down, it allows oxygen into your enamel, lightening the color of your teeth. It does this without the risk of damaging your protective enamel.

When it comes down to it, many home remedies may boast short-term effects, but they come with the risk of damaged enamel. If you want to learn more about receiving safe and effective teeth whitening at Short Pump Dental, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us today to speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members or to schedule an appointment with our expert care team. We look forward to helping you achieve a healthy, confident smile!