"Natural" at-home teeth whitening is the natural way to ruin your teeth

It's a given that everyone wants whiter teeth. Many people try at-home whitening methods, slathering all sorts of concoctions in their mouths in the hope of a better smile. Unfortunately for many teeth DIY-ers, they don't know how much harm they can do while trying to do good. The three methods analysed here are the ones most tooted on the internet, but also some of the most harmful.

Lemon juice and baking soda

The most common method of DIY teeth whitening is mixing lemon juice and baking soda and rubbing your teeth with it. The result may appear whiter, but the long-term results can be devastating. Lemon juice is acidic, eroding the surface of your teeth and weakening them. Baking soda is abrasive when rubbed on teeth enamel, and it's basically for teeth what sandpaper is for wood. Once enamel is lost, it can't regrow back, so this method harms teeth in the long run.

Strawberries, salt and baking soda

For the sweet tooths out there there's a sweeter version of the lemon juice and baking soda mix. This method requires you mix a crushed strawberry with equal parts salt and baking soda, slather it on your teeth, rub a little and then let sit for 5 minutes. Strawberries do have vitamin C which can break-down plaque, and malic acid which removes surface stains...but this same acid also corrodes your enamel. The salt and the baking soda are a double whammy of abrasion, effectively stripping down your teeth down to its "underwear" if used often enough.

Apple cider vinegar

By now you should have noticed a pattern in these methods: they all employ some sort of acid, which means they are all out to get your enamel without you knowing it. This is true for the popular apple cider vinegar rub, wash and rinse, which is very effective if you want to bathe your teeth into a pool of acid to get rid of their stains and their enamel.

By removing the enamel bit by bit, along with the stains, these methods lead exactly to the issues their users had tried to prevent: a bad smile and teeth issues. Enamel erosion causes a wide range of dental problems, such as sensitive teeth and gums, discoloration, cracks, and even tooth loss.

The only non-harmful teeth DIY is prevention. Get your teeth routinely cleaned, minimise staining foods such as coffee, tea, wine, soda etc., and don't smoke.  And if you really want whiter teeth – go to a dentist and request their teeth whitening services!