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Forget The Charcoal. Three Ways to Safely Ensure Whiter Teeth.

CARY, North Carolina — Everyone wants whiter teeth. A study from the American Association of Orthodontists reports that nearly 90% of patients have requested teeth whitening. With those overwhelming statistics, it’s no surprise the global marketplace for whitening toothpastes alone exceeds $3.2 million.

But, how do you know what works and what doesn’t? The North Carolina Dental Society encourages you to talk to your dentist before beginning any whitening treatment, and to be wary of the DIY solutions you see online.

And, just because a method is “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe or will actually brighten your smile. Sometimes, DIY whitening can actually do more harm than good. A citrus and baking soda mixture can wear away your enamel, and abrasive materials like charcoal can actually make your teeth more yellow. Oil pulling or swishing turmeric in your mouth haven’t been proven to whiten teether, either. The North Carolina Dental Society recommends you stick to its recommended teeth whitening methods.

Beyond limiting your intake of drinks that can stain teeth, such as coffee, soda and wine, the following methods have been deemed healthy and effective ways to brighten your smile:

  1. Whitening toothpastes — The best, natural way to keep your teeth white is to instill good everyday habits, like brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes. Choose a whitening toothpaste with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance to remove surface stains. The seal reminds you a product has been proven effective and won’t damage your teeth.
  2. At home bleaching products — Beyond toothpastes, whitestrips and other bleaching products are available over the counter. But, not all products are designed alike. Just last year the ADA endorsed its first ever home-use tooth bleaching product, Crest 3D White Glamorous White Whitestrips. When used for 30 minutes each day, these whitestrips pass rigorous requirements for both safety and efficacy.
  3. Peroxide gels — There are many professional products that can be applied during a dental visit, or advised by your practitioner to be applied at home. Peroxide-containing gels, with and without light, are administered during multiple in-office treatments to achieve maximum whitening. Alternatively, the at-home option involves whitening gels that are placed in customized trays developed in the office.

“We’re inundated on a daily basis with DIY whitening solutions online and in magazines,” said Dr. Billy Williams in Greenville. “But, before you invest in a whitening method, you should make sure it actually works, and that it won’t damage your teeth. The ADA has taken a significant number of years to study and review what is safe and not. In fact, it only endorsed its first over-the-counter bleaching product last year.”

To learn more about maintaining a healthy smile or finding a dentist in your area, visit www.ncdental.org.

About the North Carolina Dental Society

The North Carolina Dental Society was founded in 1856 and is one of the oldest dental societies in the country. The NCDS represents 3,800 member dentists in North Carolina. Headquartered in Cary, our mission is to help all members succeed. For more information about the NCDS, visit ncdental.org. The North Carolina Dental Society is a part of the American Dental Association, the nation's largest dental association, representing 161,000 dentist members.

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