The Top 5 Teeth Whitening Mistakes

The Top 5 Teeth Whitening Mistakes

Have you ever looked in the mirror and wished that your teeth were whiter? If so, then you are not alone. Recently, the American Association of Orthodontics noted that as many as % of their patients were requesting whitening treatments after their treatment. Nowadays, more people are focusing on their image, which means more and more people want whiter teeth. 

If you are one of these people, it is recommended that you do your research before committing to whitening treatments. This is because there are certain treatments that can be detrimental to your oral health. To help you find the best treatment, here are the top 5 most common whitening mistakes and how to avoid them. 

whitening tray

Using Poorly-Fitted Whitening Trays

One common over the counter whitening method deals with filling plastic trays with a whitening gel and then placing the trays over the teeth for a certain amount of time. The main problem with this approach is that the one-size-fits-all trays rarely fit over the teeth well. This allows the whitening gel to leak out from the trays, which decreases the effectiveness of the results and irritates the gum tissue. When using whitening trays to whiten your teeth, it is recommended to visit your dentist to have customized whitening trays made. With just a dental impression, your dentist can easily and affordably fabricate whitening trays that will fit perfectly over your teeth. 


Overusing Whitening Strips

Another common over the counter whitening method are whitening strips. These strips contain a whitening gel on one side and are made to stick on the teeth for a specified amount of time. When used correctly, they can be effective. However, some people make the mistake of leaving the strips on for too long or using them too frequently because they think it will improve their results. Overusing whitening strips does not actually improve your results and it can even damage your enamel and lead to tooth sensitivity. In cases where you are using the strips as directed and you have tooth sensitivity, it is recommended to speak with your dentist. 

baking soda and lemon by toothbrush

Using Acidic Liquids

One common DIY whitening treatment deals with using lemon juice or vinegar to remove surface stains and whiten teeth. Although acidic liquids like lemon juice or vinegar can remove surface stains, they are also one of the most damaging substances you can put on the surface of your teeth. Acids of any kind have been shown to break down the minerals that make up tooth enamel. In short, these acids will whiten your teeth while eroding your enamel. Eventually this will cause major tooth sensitivity and increase the risk of tooth decay. 

Brushing with Baking Soda

Brushing your teeth with baking soda is another common DIY whitening technique used to remove surface stains in order to whiten the teeth. Baking soda does have whitening properties and its gritty texture does work well to remove surface stains. However, baking soda is also highly abrasive in this form and it will wear down the enamel as it removes stains. Using a whitening toothpaste that contains baking soda is a much better alternative and can still yield effective results. 


Using Household Products

One of the most dangerous whitening mistakes you can make is using household products, like hydrogen peroxide or bleach, to whiten your teeth. While hydrogen peroxide is used in professional whitening treatments, the hydrogen peroxide in your bathroom cabinet is not the same. Neither hydrogen peroxide or bleach are designed for use in the mouth and can be extremely dangerous to your oral and overall health. 


Dr. Deborah TabbPatients at Bethesda Family Dentistry benefit from the knowledge and experience that only comes from a diverse team. From general dentistry to endodontic, periodontics, and cosmetic dental services, this Bethesda, MD clinic is ready to be the only source you need for all your oral health needs.