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Our patients and consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious in today’s internet world of natural and alternative dental treatments and therapies. This is no different when it comes to teeth and oral health. Our Grand Dental Group doctors answer some of the most common questions asked by our patients and dental family.

At home teeth bleaching vs. in-office whitening

Is at-home bleaching as effective as in-office whitening?  In short, no. In- office professional whitening products are considered a “prescription” and have a stronger, more effective effect on whitening your teeth. Over the counter kits may lighten your tooth shade, but will be less effective. For patients who wish to try at home products, there is generally no harm or risk, as long as the patient follows the packaging instructions. The negative effects of at-home bleaching are often seen when patients are too young, or when patients have sensitivity, dental decay, or gum disease. As always, responsible bleaching is recommended and patients should seek the council of their dentist before they start an over the counter whitening system.

Is baking soda effective as a toothpaste?

DIY toothpastes and home remedies are becoming very popular, especially with social media sites such as Pinterest offering homemade recipes. And although use of baking soda in moderation may not be harmful to teeth, it also isn’t necessary to clean teeth well. Dental plaque, which causes gum disease, dental decay and bad breath, is soft and easily removed with gentle, but thorough brushing. In fact, toothpaste in general is not needed to actually remove plaque. Thorough brushing along the gumline and over all surfaces of the teeth will do more to clean the teeth than mediocre brushing with natural products or toothpastes. If patients enjoy the feel or taste of baking soda, our Grand Dental Group dentists simply recommend that patients use baking soda sparsely and with a soft or extra soft brush only to reduce abrasion and wear.

Is sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste necessary?

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a common detergent used in many health and beauty products. Basically, this is the ingredient that allows toothpaste to “foam”. Many patients enjoy the feel of foaming toothpastes and feel as though their teeth are cleaner because of SLS. However, there are many toothpastes on the market that are SLS-free for those who are concerned about the health implications of sodium lauryl sulfate. Tom’s of Maine Clean and Gentle and Botanically Bright are SLS-free. To date, the FDA and other organizations maintain that SLS are safe for topical use in health and beauty products, including toothpaste.

Is oil pulling effective?

Oil pulling has become a hot topic lately and many of our patients are asking about it. In theory, correct oil pulling techniques will help reduce toxins and inflammation in the mouth. Scientifically-speaking, there is really very little research proving that oil pulling is effective. Likewise, there is little evidence showing that oil pulling is harmful. Although it is unlikely that oil pulling will reduce decay, treat gingivitis, or cure gum disease, there is no obvious reason why patient cannot try it. Our dental providers recommend that patients continue to brush and floss and see their dentist regularly. Oil pulling is definitely not a replacement for basic oral hygiene and preventative care. However, if patients like it, and have no personal health contraindications to its use, it is certainly acceptable to try this natural technique.