One of the most commonly sought dental services in this day and age is teeth whitening. It’s become so prolific that there is an abundance of over-the-counter products for this, as well as a plethora of at-home do-it-yourself methods that have been making the rounds through social media. While the safest move, if you’re looking to whiten your teeth, is to see a professional dentist for some of their cosmetic and cleaning services, the statistics clearly show that many of us will try to do this ourselves from the comfort of our homes. It’s important, though, not to skip out on that twice-yearly Tulsa teeth cleaning.

That being said, there are better and worse ways to go about these at-home treatments for teeth whitening. One of the most popular methods for teeth whitening is called ‘oil pulling.’ This is a homeopathic remedy that comes from India and has a history of being developed and employed for improving oral hygiene; it’s been in use for a few thousand years. While people use this for teeth whitening, it also has other benefits. The lipids in the oils that are used work as an adhesive on the bacteria in our mouths, helping to remove bacterial buildup on the gums and teeth. The idea is to swish some oil around in your mouth, for approximately five minutes at first, and then to spit the used oil out. Recommended oils are coconut, sunflower, and sesame oil. Increasingly, coconut is coming out on top as it has been shown to have some anti-microbial properties and as some recent studies seem to indicate that it can reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Another common remedy is to make a tooth-whitening paste from apple cider vinegar and baking soda, with a ratio of two parts vinegar to one part baking soda. The ensuing paste can be gently rubbed onto your teeth and will work to remove staining. It’s important to be cautious with this, as vinegar is quite acidic, and as such can have a corrosive effect on the enamel of your teeth. For this reason, be gentle when applying the teeth-whitening paste, and do not brush your teeth for at least thirty minutes afterward, as doing so can exacerbate damage to your enamel while it’s in a weakened state. However, you can and should rinse with clean water after using this treatment. In fact, it’s a good idea to follow those two rules anytime we consume something acidic.

A third treatment that has become quite popular is to rinse with a hydrogen peroxide solution as a mouthwash. This can have some positive oral health benefits on top of teeth whitening, as it is an excellent disinfectant. Many of the over the counter treatments use hydrogen peroxide as a main ingredient. It’s crucial that you don’t get too strong of a mixture if you’re going to use hydrogen peroxide, so make sure that the original bottle you buy is of the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution—this is what’s commonly sold at pharmacies. Next, you’ll want to mix your hydrogen peroxide from the bottle with two parts warm water to one part hydrogen peroxide. Then you merely gargle it for sixty seconds as you would with any mouthwash. Two critical pieces of information to keep in mind: never swallow this solution and don’t keep it in your mouth for any longer than one minute.

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the popular methods of teeth whitening, and as said previously, the best way to whiten your teeth is to ask your dentist about their cosmetic services at your next Tulsa teeth cleaning. Schedule a Tulsa teeth cleaning appointment today and get that smile sparkling again!