These days more and more individuals are taking it upon themselves to utilize at-home tooth whitening options. But are they as effective as a professional whitening from your dentist? Are they as safe? BellaVista Dental Care’s Dr. Rashmi Bhatnagar says when utilizing at-home whitening methods – particularly those with little research in regard to oral health and safety – it is best to proceed with caution.
Whitening strips, which Bhatnagar says have generally been proven safe and effective, are a good option for at-home whitening, she says. In particular, Crest whitening strips have a solid reputation and are widely recognized by dentists as one of the best at-home options for whitening. Still, when comparting them to an in-office whitening, they take longer to show results.
“Any over-the-counter whitening kit cannot use high-potency material because it will burn the gum tissues, so they use a low percentage solution,” says Bhatnagar. “The ones used in a professional dental office have a higher percentage solution, so in order to get the same result, you’d need to use an at-home whitening kit more often in order to get a comparable effect.”
A search on the internet for “at-home whitening” will likely yield some results on alternative whitening methods as well. One that seems to be gaining popularity is the use of lemon juice combined with baking soda. The idea behind it is this acid-base combo neutralizes and serves as an effective whitening option that won’t damage enamel. While a number of people stand by the method, Bhatnagar says she thinks more research needs to be done on the method before implementation.
“I don’t know what type of long-term effects this may cause,” said Bhatnagar. “Hypothetically I would say that would work, but without the research to back this, my opinion is to steer clear of this option until more is known about the impact it has on the mouth.”