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How To Safely Whiten Teeth

The chemicals in some teeth whitening products can cause discomfort in those with sensitive teeth. The poor fit of some whitening trays can cause gum irritation. For those two reasons, the safest way to whiten teeth calls for use of a traditional and natural method.

Some might think that dentists did not know how to whiten teeth until very late in the 20th Century. In fact, dentists offered advice on that subject even before the present-day prominence of teeth whitening products. Patients have been eager for information related to tooth whitening for quite some time.

As doctors began to use increasing amounts of medication, throughout the 20th Century, some of that medication stained patients’ gums. Those patients then asked their dentists for help removing the unsightly stain. Dentists shared with patients the techniques then available.

In late 1969, a female patient visited a Pennsylvania dentist. She had recently started using the drug Dilantin. She had also spent a large part of the summer drinking sweet tea, the one drink that had agreed with her “sick” stomach.

The dentist suggested that she try using some baking soda on her teeth. That worked. It removed the stain, and so the young woman took baking soda along with her, when she left for college. Later, some of her college classmates and dorm mates asked her how she got such white teeth.

Today, if one goes online, one can find even more information about using baking soda for tooth whitening. One user of this natural whitener has advised creation of a mixture (one part baking soda and one part table salt). Once moistened, that mixture can be applied to a tooth brush, and then applied to the teeth.

Another online suggestion encourages efforts aimed at the polishing of teeth. Such polishing is best done with a washcloth. The washcloth is dipped into a solution made by mixing one teaspoon of vinegar with one fourth cup of water. The rubbing action of the cloth ensures effective removal of stains, once they are exposed to that weak acid.

Such natural techniques are definitely safer than professional teeth whitening. The hydrogen peroxide used in professional teeth whitening routines penetrates the enamel and the dentin under the enamel. Patients should not ask a dentist to perform such a routine more than once or twice during a year.

Perhaps the reader has begun to think that white strips might be a better (and safer) bet. White strips are not a solution that works for everybody. Some white strips contain a sweetener or other pleasant-tasting ingredient. Sometimes that ingredient can upset a patient’s digestive system.
Patients who abandon strips in favor of trays, especially trays made for home use, might well encounter another problem. Ill-fitting trays can initiate gum irritations. Even when trays fit well, at-home bleaching can invite problems. If left for too long on the teeth, the whitening products can cause erosion of the tooth enamel.

Sometimes patients have particular concerns. Today, a few of the dentists doing teeth whitening have created web sites. Patients can submit specific questions to such web sites.

For example, in October of 2007, a woman living in Los Angeles County discovered the web site for Dr. Agaki. He had offices in two locations within L.A. County. The woman wanted to know how her own medical history might affect the safety of the teeth whitening procedures used in Dr. Agaki’s offices.

That woman had once taken Dilantin, an anti-siezure drug that can cause gum overgrowth. She had had to have her gums cut back on two occasions. The woman asked Dr. Agaki if she could feel safe taking advantage of the teeth whitening products mentioned on the doctor’s web site.

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