Four Popular At-Home Oral Remedies: Are They Safe?

August 29, 2018

baking soda and lemonThe do-it-yourself industry continues to grow as resources like YouTube and Pinterest dominate the web, but how do we decide which DIY projects are credible when we are searching for alternative health remedies?

When we peruse websites like Pinterest, it’s likely to see obscure ways to keep your breath fresh and your teeth white. With so much information out there, it’s hard to discern what strategies seem safe! Let’s discuss four popular DIY oral health treatments and whether these practices seem legit.

Evaluating the Safety of Popular At-Home Oral Remedies

  1. Baking Soda: Commonly used for baking, this powder claims to brighten your teeth and remove stains. Unfortunately, this remedy is too good to be true! Using baking soda for a whiter smile harms the enamel on your teeth, which can lead to various other oral health problems like cavities and gum disease. 
  1. tongue scraperTongue Scraping: This is a technique that requires a special tool to remove plaque from the upper surface of your tongue. Actually, your tongue can be quite the plaque magnet, commonly a breeding ground for bacteria to grow and bad breath to ensue; using this type of instrument is great for fending off these issues, as long as you are careful not to damage your tissue. To scrape your tongue properly, start at the back of your tongue and gently pull forward; clean the scraper and rinse your mouth thoroughly after you complete this process!
  1. Oil Pulling: This ancient Ayurvedic practice involves swishing oil in your mouth to pull toxins and whiten teeth. Currently, the oil pulling trend seems to be sweeping the nation, but make sure to read the fine print before testing this out. Oil pulling can result in several side effects, including dry mouth, upset stomach, lipoid pneumonia (caused by contaminated oil entering the lungs accidentally), loss of taste, and flu-like symptoms. Click here for a full list of potential side effects. 
  1. Lemon Juice: Ah, the age-old solution for stains: lemon juice. This trend makes sense because acid from citrus fruits does dutifully clear away bacteria, however using a lemon as a whitening treatment is a bad idea. The acidity messes with your mouths natural pH balance, weakening your enamel, and causing long-term oral health issues. If you desire a whiter smile, its best to stick to a professional whitening solution!

It’s Always Better to Play It Safe

Even though DIY treatments are a fun, cheap alternative when it comes to your oral health, the only scientifically proven methods for keeping your pearly whites in shape are:

  1. Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each
  2. Flossing daily
  3. Visiting your dentist twice a year

Although these steps don’t seem as exciting, we guarantee your mouth will thank you in the long run!