I’m a dentist – the dangerous whitening hacks to STOP (and the things that really work)

A DENTIST has revealed the whitening hacks you should stop trying, some of which are harmful.

The internet is filled with extreme ways to whiten your teeth at home, including covering teeth in lemon juice, coconut oil, and even purple shampoo.


Want a brighter smile? Pay at the dentist to stay safeCredit: Getty

Dr Khaled Kasem, chief orthodontist of European leading orthodontics chain Impress, said: “The majority of DIY whitening hacks are complete fads.

“Not only are some of them dangerous to your health but they also don’t contain the ingredients to remove any deep-set stains that are causing your teeth to yellow in appearance. 

“If you’re hoping to achieve a brighter, whiter smile, it’s always best to consult your dentist before trying anything out.

“Just like regular health, you shouldn’t take dental advice from anyone on social media that isn’t qualified to provide it. 

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“DIY tricks can be dangerous and cause damage to your tooth enamel, something which simply cannot be undone.”

The worst hacks…

1. Purple shampoo

Puple shampoo is used by people with dyed blonde hair to stop their locks going brassy coloured.

Dr Khaled said: “Perhaps the most unusual of all is the idea that purple shampoo will whiten your teeth. 

“The idea behind it is simple: violet hue cancels yellow tones found on your teeth, creating an instant but temporary whitening effect.

“However, we would always stand by the fact that shampoo should not be coming anywhere near your mouth, as not only can ingesting it have serious implications for your health, but it also doesn’t have the desired effects so becomes pointless! 

“The ingredients in shampoo will not remove any deep-set stains that are causing your teeth to yellow in appearance and will do more harm than good.”

2. Lemon juice

Lemon juice – how harmful can it be?

Well, lemons are rich in citric acid, “a natural bleaching agent used on fabrics, hair and skin”.

However, Dr Khaled warned: “While it can lift stains and lighten teeth in the short term, lemons are simply too acidic to sit on the surface of your teeth.

“As it sits on your teeth it begins wearing down the enamel that protects your teeth, and as the layer decreases, you’re increasing your risk of tooth sensitivity and decay.”

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is another natural kitchen ingredient that does wonders for health.

But when it comes to teeth, it’s best to put the spice down.

Dr Khaled said: “While it does help to remove plaque, bacteria, and inflammation, it’s not as effective at removing stains. 

“In fact, its dark orange colour lends itself to staining your teeth more, if you don’t clean them properly.”

The better options…

While most teeth whitening hacks are nonsense, some are a little more grounded in science.

Coconut oil

Dr Khaled said: “Coconut oil is another popular method for tooth whitening. 

“An edible oil that people swirl around their mouth, there have been claims that coconut oil reaps huge rewards for your teeth, such as healthier gums, plaque removal and a reduction of bacteria, all of which will give your mouth a fresher feel and cleaner appearance.”

Dr Khaled said there is “no real evidence to suggest that it’s effective in reducing any deep-set stains”.

But you can take comfort in the fact it won’t harm the tooth.

Cucumber, kiwi and lemon juice

“Another trend that’s taken over TikTok is the idea that cucumber, kiwi, and lemon juice can dull the stain in your teeth,” Dr Khaled said.

“The idea behind the concoction is that kiwis are packed full of calcium, which helps to neutralise acids and boost the health of enamel, while cucumbers are said to freshen your breath.”

Lemon juice alone has already been debunked as a risky teeth whitening method by Dr Khaled.

And he said this mix “may look effective for a few hours, but it’s just a temporary solution for removing surface stains”. 

He added: “Using these ingredients will not remove any deep-set stains that are causing your teeth to yellow in appearance.”

The best options…

To have a visibly brighter smile, bleach is needed in the form of teeth whitening.

Professional teeth whitening is also the only way to treat discoloration of the tooth – which can look like staining, but is in fact deeper in the tooth.

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Dr Khaled said: “If you’re hoping to achieve a brighter, whiter smile, your best bet is to consult a dental professional, as they have special programmes in place that can change the natural colour of your teeth, rather than just remove surface stains. 

“It might be more expensive, but it’s your safest and most effective option.”

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