Are Popular DIY Oral Remedies Safe?

August 30, 2018

Baking Soda & LemonIf you browse online platforms like YouTube or Pinterest long enough, you’re bound to stumble across DIY remedies for just about any ailment or problem. The do-it-yourself movement can be great for crafty, creative projects like upcycled furniture or handmade jewelry. Even some natural skincare treatments can be beneficial if you find the right recipe. But what about at-home dental care DIYs?

Unfortunately, it turns out many of the most popular tooth whitening or breath freshening hacks may be more damaging to teeth than they are helpful, even if the initial results seem great. Keep reading to find out if your favorite dental DIY is one you should ditch.

4 Popular DIY Oral Remedies & Their Safety

  1. Oil Pulling: Though it may sound gross, this ancient Ayurvedic practice has been touted as a trendy way to remove toxins and whiten teeth in recent years. However, though there may be some debated benefits, there is no concrete scientific evidence proving it has purifying and whitening effects. There does happen to be some pretty unpleasant potential side effects including dry mouth, upset stomach, loss of taste, nausea, vomiting, sudden flu-like symptoms and lipoid pneumonia (if contaminated oil enters the lungs accidentally). So maybe this one is best to skip. Read a full list of side effects for more information.
  2. Baking Soda: Using baking soda to brush your teeth makes sense—after all many toothpaste brands include it as an ingredient in their products. However, on its own without the other ingredients, baking soda is extremely abrasive and not at all a good replacement for conventional toothpaste. Your teeth will look whiter at first, but over time the yellow dentin underneath will begin to show through after the top layer of your teeth has eroded away. Probably not your desired effect!
  3. Lemon Juice: The whitening effects of lemon juice also have some truth to them. The only problem is, like with baking soda, the damage outweighs the benefits. The acid in lemon juice will give your teeth a whiter boost, but it will also alter the pH balance of your mouth, weaken your enamel and irritate your gums if used too often. And since many DIY recipes call for mixing this acidic ingredient with baking soda brushing, it can be a dental disaster waiting to happen.
  4. Tongue ScraperTongue Scraping: Of the four remedies listed here, this one is by far the safest and most effective. This at-home technique involves using a special instrument called a tongue scraper to remove plaque buildup for fresher breath. The tongue attracts food particles and plaque that sit there all day, stinking your mouth up. Removing that gunk makes a big difference. By using a specially-made device, you can gently get rid of it by literally scraping it off. Just be careful not to push too hard on the sensitive tissue and you’ll be on your way to a cleaner, better smelling mouth!

Play It Safe with Your Oral Health

Though DIY treatments may seem appealing—especially since they typically don’t cost much to try—in the end it’s best to stick with tried and true methods for taking care of your teeth. Only take dental advice from sources you fully trust, and when in doubt, ask your dentist or hygienist for their professional opinion about the latest home remedy craze.

By following science-backed and simple methods like brushing twice a day, flossing daily and visiting your dentist twice a year, you’ll save money, tooth damage and time researching Pinterest tips online.

And if you still want a whiter, brighter smile, visit our whitening services page for safe, up-to-date treatments that really work!