TikTok is full of all sorts of hacks and tricks.
One that’s recently done the rounds is an at-home teeth whitening video, which says you don’t need whitening strips to do the job.
The content creator, Armen Adamjan, says all you have to do is get kiwi and cucumber mashed together, add baking soda, mix it up, then put it on your toothbrush and rub it into the teeth twice a week.
He recommends this because kiwis are full of calcium and cucumber, he says, can help get rid of bacterial buildup.
But does this actually work, and is it good for your dental health?
Short answer: not really.
Dr Kamila Azimova from Ascot Dental Suite tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Baking soda is made from a chemical compound which does mean it’s slightly abrasive and is an effective stain remover.
‘However, if you want to remove deep set stains that are not just on the surface, baking soda isn’t going to make much of a difference unfortunately.
‘The idea behind kiwis and cucumber in this TikTok users concoction are that kiwis contain a high level of calcium and cucumbers are good for removing bad bacteria, which cause smelly breath.
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‘As well as not being a safe long-term option, due to potential enamel damage, this recipe doesn’t contain fluoride, which is an essential ingredient in maintaining strong healthy teeth.’
There is some truth in the effectiveness of baking soda removing stains, but its successes have their limits – and over time, it’s not the best option for oral health.
Dr Azimova adds: ‘It may sound like a good natural alternative to whitening products or regular dental trips, and while it might be fun to try occasionally, this is not a method I would recommend for whitening teeth or maintaining good oral hygiene.’
Can I do this with braces?
You shouldn’t, because the baking soda will soften the orthodontic glue.
Karim Abdel-Khalek, a dentist at Bupa Dental Care says it’s important not to follow ‘unqualified advice from influencers on social media and attempt to perform dental work at home’.
He explains: ‘DIY tricks, such as using baking powder to remove stains as seen in this video, can be really harmful and cause permanent damage to your tooth enamel.
‘For anyone considering getting their teeth whitened, it’s important to visit your dentist for an expert opinion.
‘It’s always worth investing in professional teeth whitening – not only will it be more effective, but it will also be safer.’
When done professionally, dentists can treat you with 6% hydrogen peroxide, which is the bleaching agent that whitens teeth.
This is significantly stronger than any over-the-counter tooth whitening product.
Natural ways to maintain teeth whiteness
The damage can’t be reversed, but these things shouldn’t be underestimated according to Karim Abdel-Khalek.
- Brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between your teeth with interdental brushes or floss
- Have regular check-ups with your dentist
- Limit your intake of dark foods and drinks such as berries, tea, coffee and red wine
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