Woman Using Teeth Whitening Strip
Dr.Michael Richer

Doctor of Dental Surgery

Graduated from the State University of Buffalo with a Bachelors in Biology

Graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry

Ranked among the Top 10 Dental Schools in North America

The Dangers of DIY Teeth Whitening

Your smile is often the first thing someone will notice about you. Having a dingy smile can make it hard to make a good first impression and feel confident at work or in social situations. Coffee, dark-colored sodas, red wine, tea, cigarettes, and a variety of foods can contribute to tooth staining which may lead you to search for the best teeth whitening methods.

Unwanted Side Effects of Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products

While there is an abundance of do-it-yourself teeth whitening methods available, most will simply not be potent and targeted enough to give you the bright, even smile you are after. Not only this but there are some serious hazards to many of these quick-fix, low-cost methods including:
Tooth Sensitivity - This can occur if you have overly sensitive teeth, leave the product on too long, or apply it incorrectly.
Gum Irritation - As whitening strips or mouth trays are not custom-made to fit your mouth exactly, the solution gets on your gums and may cause irritation.
Enamel Erosion - Misusing over-the-counter whitening products could damage your enamel, the protective layer of your teeth, and this can lead to a higher risk of developing cavities and tooth decay.
Undesired Results - Your teeth could be unevenly whitened by DIY products, or they simply may not whiten your teeth enough.

Popular OTC Teeth Whitening Methods

Despite negative side effects, many people will still prefer to try these DIY methods to brighten their smiles. Before you do, make sure to consider the dangers of each of these popular methods:

UV Products

Over-the-counter ultraviolet (UV) light teeth-whitening kits pose a risk of gum or nerve damage, infections in the mouth, toothaches, and spotty results.

Whitening Strips

While these strips are readily available and very popular for creating a brighter smile, their overuse can damage the gums and teeth as well as increase tooth sensitivity. Consumers should seek products with an ADA Seal of Acceptance and should be cautious surrounding the frequency of use.


Swishing oil around the teeth for 15- to 20-minute intervals is another DIY method that claims to draw toxins out of the teeth to improve oral health and whiten the teeth, but there is no scientific evidence behind these claims.

Baking Soda

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is another popular short-term whitening solution, but it is also abrasive and could damage your tooth enamel over time.

Activated Charcoal

This absorbs stains and toxins, but is too abrasive to use on teeth. If you still choose to buy charcoal toothpaste, be sure to only use products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Lemon Juice

This is dangerous because it is extremely acidic and can cause irreversible enamel loss.

The Safest Teeth Whitening Happens in the Dentist’s Office

Professional teeth whitening provides optimal results without compromising the structural integrity of your teeth. Only professionals trained in cosmetic dentistry have the knowledge, skill, and materials to safely whiten your smile. Plus, your Hicksville dental team can provide you with emergency dentistry, dentures, and all the most modern and effective dental services. While DIY can be great for other things, when it comes to your teeth, it’s always a good idea to consult a dentist and work out a treatment plan that’s right for you.


Michael Richer

Graduated from the State University of Buffalo with a Bachelors in Biology

Graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry

Ranked among the Top 10 Dental Schools in North America

754 S. Broadway

Hicksville, NY 11801

(516) 874-7834

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