Teeth Whitening: Options, Risks & Alternatives

Posted by Angela - Naturally Safe Cosmetics on 8th Mar 2017

When it comes to beauty, don't underestimate the power of a smile. Not only does it brighten up your face, it can also make you feel instantly better. And no-one can resist a genuine, heart-felt smile. So share them around freely. Life’s too short to waste opportunities to smile at those around you: your partner, your mum, your brother, your neighbour, even a stranger you pass in the street. It costs nothing to do and is such a simple way to make someone else happy, even for a few moments. "But I'm embarrassed because my teeth are stained!", I hear you say. Perhaps you’re feeling the influence of our celebrity culture which has no doubt contributed to the rise in popularity of teeth whitening in recent years? Well, let's see what we can do about that, shall we?

Naturally Safe Cosmetics Teeth Whitening Blog

Causes of Stained Teeth

There are many causes of teeth staining, including smoking, drinking tea, coffee and wine, as well as certain medications. 

Traditional Teeth Whitening

Traditionally, teeth whitening involves a dentist bleaching your teeth with a product usually containing hydrogen peroxide. Of course, there are also many DIY tooth whitening kits available that you can apply yourself at home. But you need to be aware that there are some stains and/or other tooth discolorations that even professional whitening cannot lighten, so you definitely need to talk to your dentist about these before undertaking any treatment.

Risks of Bleaching

The main risks with bleaching are tooth sensitivity and/or gum irritation. This is of particular concern if you already have sensitive teeth, gum disease or worn tooth enamel. Again, this is something to discuss with your dentist. While dentists maintain that teeth whitening with bleach is safe, it is not generally recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers, which has to make your wonder, right?

And, in the end, teeth whitening via bleaching is not permanent either. It can last anywhere between 1 and 5 years. So, you’re probably going to have to do it all over again, multiple times throughout the years of your life. After all, are you going to give up drinking dark fluids for the rest of your life? Are you going to avoid eating foods that stain your teeth (e.g. yummy foods with spices like Indian curries)? Are you going to stop smoking? Yes, definitely give up smoking if you are a smoker!!! And, finally, teeth will naturally change colour as we age anyway and that is unavoidable.

Alternatives to Bleaching

So, what are the alternatives to traditional bleaching when it comes to teeth whitening?

There are alternatives that can help you to whiten your teeth naturally. The results may not be as dramatic and may take a little longer but we think they are worth it to avoid chemicals and bleaching:

  • Natural whitening toothpastes – these often include sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) which can gently polish and whiten your teeth and xylitol (from birch trees) to help prevent stain build-up. Comvita Whitening Toothpaste is a 100% natural toothpaste that can help brighten your smile without harsh chemicals.
  • Oil pulling – a little controversial but this involves swishing around a small amount of oil (such as coconut oil) in your mouth for 20 minutes or so to help remove plaque and bacteria from the mouth.
  • Charcoal – increasing dramatically in popularity, activated charcoal is a highly porous substance that binds to things like tannins that can stain teeth. In addition, it can be helpful in changing the pH and general health of the mouth, thereby assisting in avoiding tooth decay and gum disease. Check out My Magic Mud Whitening Tooth Powder, a revolutionary, super fine black powder which also includes Calcium Bentonite Clay to improve dental hygiene and re-mineralize your enamel. It can be a little messy until you get the hang of it but stick with it and reap the benefits. However, if you’re hesitant or worried about potential mess with the powdered charcoal, My Magic Mud have now released their Whitening Toothpastes. Still black in colour and still powered by activated coconut shell, these convenient toothpaste formulations include smart ingredients that work to polish, detox and give your teeth a really deep clean. And, they come in 3 delicious flavours, including our favourite - Peppermint.