Four Popular At-Home Oral Remedies: Are They Safe?

August 28, 2018

baking sodaWith online resources like YouTube and Pinterest, it’s easier than ever to become DIY-obsessed. And for the most part, that’s great! DIY projects allow us to express our creativity through one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and interesting jewelry. Sometimes, we even use DIY skin care treatments at home, but what about oral health?

If you browse Pinterest, you’re bound to see a multitude of strategies for whitening teeth and freshening breath on your own. But are these techniques safe? Usually, the answer is no. Keep reading to learn more about your favorite DIY treatments and whether you should keep using them.

Evaluating the Safety of Popular At-Home Oral Remedies

  1. Oil Pulling: This ancient Ayurvedic practice involves swishing oil in your mouth in order to remove toxins and whiten teeth. However, there’s no scientific evidence that this is effective, and it can actually be harmful. Oil pulling can result in a laundry list of side effects, including dry mouth, lipoid pneumonia (caused by contaminated oil entering lungs accidentally), upset stomach, a hangover-like sensation, loss of taste, and sudden flu-like symptoms. Click here to read a full list of potential side effects.
  2. Baking Soda: Bushing with baking soda works by scraping away stains from your teeth. So, it will make your teeth whiter, but it will also do some damage. Since it’s so abrasive, it can wear at your enamel, revealing the dentin underneath. Since your dentin is a yellow color, this obviously won’t give you your desired effect!
  3. Lemon Juice: A popular DIY oral health remedy is to use lemon juice to brush teeth. Lemon juice is very acidic and rubbing it on your teeth can do some serious damage over time. Worse yet, it alters the pH balance in your mouth, temporarily weakening your enamel. Since many people combine this DIY with brushing with baking soda, this is a recipe for disaster!
  4. Tongue Scraping: This is an oral hygiene technique that involves using a special instrument to remove built-up plaque from the upper surface of the tongue. Since this area attracts a great deal of food and plaque, tongue-scraping is an effective way to treat bad breath. To scrape your tongue properly, use a scraper or tongue brush. Your tongue is bumpy, and regular toothbrushes are designed to clean smooth surfaces, like your teeth. Starting in the back of your tongue, gently pull forward, then clean your scraper and rinse your mouth thoroughly. Be careful when you scrape your tongue—it’s sensitive here. If you push too hard, you can damage your tissue.

It’s Always Better to Play It Safe


It isn’t worth taking dental advice from a source you don’t fully trust. You could end up causing long-lasting damage to your smile.

DIY dental treatments often seem fun and appealing, but you’re better off sticking to the tried & true, scientifically proven methods for maintaining oral health. These include brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist twice a year. It may sound boring but doing those three things will take you so far.

And if you’re looking to whiten your teeth, check out our whitening services! They are much safer and more effective than taking matters into your own hands.