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Shining with care

Popular home remedies may be easy to use and a cheap option for dental problems. But is it the right thing for you?

health and fitness Updated: Nov 08, 2010 01:31 IST

While popular granny’s kitchen remedies may be great for your skin, experts feel that popular home treatments for teeth whitening, like using baking soda, ash and hydrogen peroxide, can strip tooth enamel and cause lasting damage to the gums.

The techniques, many of which are posted on the net by people with no knowledge of dentistry, are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to expensive professional treatment these days as they promise results with little or no expenditure.

Examples of the potentially hazardous advice offered online include brushing teeth with soap, salt, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, or bleach.

But dentists say some of the methods can erode the enamel covering of the teeth, making them appear darker rather than whiter, reports the Telegraph.

Nearly 100,000 people undergo some type of teeth whitening treatment each year now, ten times more than five years ago.

But many people find the process prohibitively expensive — costing up to £1,300 (R 50,000 - 80,000) for laser treatment and £700 (R 20,000 - 50,000) for professional bleaching.

Professor Anthony Eder, clinical director of the London Tooth Whitening Centre, said: “There seems to be a growing concern among teens about their teeth, and the internet offers many whitening recipes. Some of these have the potential to damage healthy teeth.”

He said using baking soda repeatedly would strip the teeth of enamel, leaving them browner, while salt would scratch the enamel.