A social media post claims one can whiten teeth using toothpaste, coffee, lemon juice, and mustard oil. We fact-checked and found this claim to be Mostly False.
The caption of a Facebook reel reads, “Teeth whitening at home with this my natural recipe #teethwhitening.” The reel displays the preparation of a mixture using toothpaste, coffee, lemon juice, and mustard oil, which the proponents believe can whiten the teeth.
What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening refers to any method of lightening the color of a tooth. This is done through either physical stain removal or initiating a chemical reaction to lighten the tooth color. A dentist uses bleaching agents and hydrogen peroxide-containing dental products as cosmetic procedures which can help in achieving the desired tooth color. Other than this, dental scaling, which is a procedure to mechanically remove plaque and calculus from the teeth around the gum line, is performed to remove the external stains.
However, it must be noted that the ‘natural’ color of a tooth varies. Mostly it is a light to a medium shade of yellow or grayish-yellow. This can vary depending on genetics and other factors such as age, diet, and oral hygiene. And with time, the color may even get darker.
Can teeth be whitened using toothpaste, coffee, lemon juice and mustard oil?
Not exactly. There is a lack of credible scientific evidence to prove that a mixture of toothpaste, coffee, lemon juice and mustard oil can whiten teeth effectively and safely. Even though certain ingredients might be helpful in whitening teeth.
Toothpaste that contains whitening agents like hydrogen peroxide can help to remove surface stains on teeth and lighten their appearance over time with consistent use. However, regular toothpaste may not have the same effect.
Coffee can even cause staining on teeth over time, while other ingredients can be acidic and abrasive, which can damage the enamel of the teeth and make them more susceptible to staining.
Lemon juice is a powerful at-home bleaching agent and a rich source of vitamin C. On the other hand, excessive use of lemon juice erodes the tooth enamel, which guards against dental disease. It is crucial to stress that your teeth enamel does not grow back. As a result, regularly applying lemon juice will have a negative impact on its ability to whiten teeth.
Additionally, mustard oil is believed to strengthen gums and remove plaque, but there is a lack of scientific evidence to prove this.
We approached our dental expert, Dr. Pooja Bhardwaj, BDS, and asked her to share her view to which she replied, “There is no scientific evidence that suggests toothpaste and kitchen ingredients whiten teeth. Mustard oil can be used in oil pulling as it kills bacteria and promotes healthy gums by treating gingivitis. But, it has a pungent taste, thus making the experience unpleasant for the patient.
On the other hand, coffee is a good antioxidant but has tannins that, over a period of time, stains teeth. Moreover, lemon juice is rich in Vitamin C and promotes gum health but has an acidic pH of 2-3. This can irreversible erosion of the enamel surface.
Additionally, toothpaste has ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, which has bleaching action and can make teeth look cleaner and whiter, but its action is limited. They might remove extrinsic stains on the tooth surface, thus making it look cleaner and whiter, but it has no effect on transforming the natural colour and orientation of teeth. We do have technological advancement in teeth whitening and other enhancements, cosmetically. One must always look for professional advice from a dentist before undergoing any procedure.”
When we asked Dr. Pratyasa Bagchi, our dental expert, to comment on this, she stated, “Toothpaste can whiten the teeth because of ingredients like triclosan and activated charcoal, but coffee stains the teeth. Moreover, kitchen ingredients, like salt and lime, can help clean the teeth; however, their repeated use can cause dental sensitivity in patients. So, it’s advised to use kitchen ingredients as tooth cleansing agents carefully. Repeated use of coffee can cause coffee colour or brownish tooth stains. Additionally, excessive use of lemon juice can erode the enamel of the teeth. Hence, the application of this mixture is not advisable.”
What at-home preventative measures can be taken for tooth stains?
Please be aware that only external stains can be avoided, whereas internal stains affect the internal structure of the teeth and are, therefore, challenging to prevent. Since lifestyle choices are the main cause of external stains, therefore, tooth discoloration can always be avoided by eating a high-fibre diet, drinking lots of water, and brushing and flossing on a regular basis. Avoiding smoking, consuming acidic juices and beverages, and limiting the consumption of foods and beverages that can stain teeth, such as cola, coffee, and red wine, are additional preventive measures.
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