The dangers of DIY teeth whitening

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DIY or Do It Yourself is a true Australian catch word. We like to DIY our houses, backyard, cars, and anything else we think that can be done with a couple of tools. It is therefore no surprise that a survey conducted by the Australian Dental Association has found out that over a fifth of all Australians, 22% have whitened their teeth using DIY kits. That is an 8% increase since 2017 when the first data was collected.

It was also noted that teeth whitening treatments by dentists have fallen. Of the 25,000 Australians surveyed, only 1 out of 3 adults did their teeth whitening under the supervision of a dental professional – 19% using at-home kits and 14% opting for in-clinic whitening.

Some of the other results of the survey are:

  • 39% bought a teeth whitening kit online
  • 16% bought an over-the-counter product like strips or gel from a pharmacy or supermarket, and
  • 9% used whitening services provided by someone other than a dental professional.

The result is that without the supervision of dentists, the risk of burns, extreme pain and damaged enamel is very high and, in most cases, extremely likely.

So, what are the pit falls of DIY teeth whitening?

DIY teeth whitening has high risk of oral and facial injuries when not done properly. Bleaching ingredients in the kit can risk damaging the sensitive tissues in the mouth. A professionally trained dentist will protect your teeth and gums using trays that are custom fitted for your mouth while DIY kits may have trays that is a standard size which may not fit. The result is that the bucket load of acid and goo and junk can spill out of the tray, get on the teeth, mouth and sometimes even down your throat into your stomach.

Some of the dangers of DIY teeth whitening and improper administration include:

  • Chemical burns (including severe gum burns)
  • Tooth damage
  • Facial and internal damage from leaking or swallowed bleach
  • Damage to maturing teeth in children

5 DIY Teeth Whitening Methods That Don’t Work

Some DIY teeth whitening methods can lighten your teeth safely. However, other popular methods are not proven to work and they may do more harm than good.

In many cases, there is no scientific evidence to prove that a teeth whitening method is safe or effective.

Charcoal Whitening Products

Brushing your teeth with powdered charcoal is known to pull toxins from the mouth and remove stains from teeth. However, while some studies have shown that activated charcoal removes stains, it is not the best option. Charcoal claims to “detoxify” and whiten the teeth but there is no clear definition of what it means to detoxify something in the mouth.

Additionally, the toxicity of charcoal-based dental products has not been thoroughly tested.

Baking Soda & Hydrogen Peroxide Paste

A popular DIY teeth whitening method is applying a baking soda-hydrogen peroxide paste directly to the teeth. However, this can be abrasive because the concentration is usually too potent. Overuse can erode the teeth.

Lemon and Baking Soda

The use of lemon and baking soda is another popular DIY teeth whitening treatment. However, acidic fruits like lemons can wear away tooth enamel and lead to cavities, sensitivity, and other dental issues. Do not use lemons or any other acidic fruits to whiten your teeth.

Make sure you consume acidic fruits as part of a healthy diet. Eating a varied diet naturally improves the health of your teeth and brightness.

Apple Cider Vinegar

There is no scientific evidence that using apple cider vinegar as a mouthwash helps whiten teeth. Vinegar contains acid, which can weaken the enamel and lead to tooth decay. Do not apply any type of vinegar to your teeth.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic method of whitening teeth. It involves swishing oil through the teeth and around the mouth. Most commonly, coconut and olive oil are used. While the treatment may improve bad breath, it will not remove stains from teeth.

False advertising or unsubstantiated claims about ingredients is a huge risk with DIY teeth whitening kits which are sold online. Such kits also claim expertise from non-dental practitioners and gushing reviews from users which are very hard to prove. According to the ADA, the safest option with teeth whitening is to see a dentist to determine if your teeth are suitable for whitening and how to get the best outcome.

Do not trust your teeth with anyone or anything other than registered dental practitioners. Malouf Dental provides two safe and effective options for teeth whitening.

The ZOOM! In-Office Teeth Whitening Treatment is done at our clinic where you can enjoy whiter teeth in just one visit, even during your lunch break!

The ZOOM! Take Home Whitening Kit includes whitening gels and custom trays made just for you, to be done in the comfort of your house to get results in a week or two.

Want to book an appointment?

Book an appointment online by clicking here. Call our friendly team on 3390 6100 or email us


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