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3 Tooth Whitening Myths vs. the Facts


Facts. You’ll want to have those on hand when your patients approach you to talk about tooth whitening techniques they’ve heard about online or on TV. Keep this info in your back pocket the next time patients ask you about strawberries, coconut oil pulling, and baking soda.


The “technique”: Mash up strawberries and baking soda, apply to teeth for 5 minutes, brush teeth with toothpaste, and rinse.

The facts: Teeth will appear brighter because the acid in the strawberries and the abrasiveness of the baking soda, toothpaste, and toothbrush will remove stained surface tooth structure, but teeth aren’t whitened because there’s no penetration beneath the surface of the teeth. The acid combined with abrasiveness is damaging tooth structure with no benefit.

Coconut Oil Pulling

The “technique”: Rinsing with coconut oil removes bacteria from teeth by attaching to the lipid or fat (oil) in bacterial cells.

The facts: Removing bacteria will not necessarily remove stains and whiten teeth. Also, no scientific studies exist to show that coconut oil offers any benefit at all. In case you were wondering, that last sentence is the kicker.

Baking Soda

The “technique”: Brush teeth with a mixture of baking soda and a natural acid (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar).

The facts: Baking soda isn’t as abrasive as most people believe. In fact, it’s much less abrasive than most toothpastes. Any “stain removal” that occurs is caused by the acid in the mixture softening the tooth surface and then the baking soda and toothbrush removing that surface tooth structure. No actual whitening occurs.

The best way to whiten teeth is with a scientifically proven system that penetrates the tooth surface to remove stains. KöR Whitening systems, for example, whiten with no loss of, or damage to, tooth structure, and are backed by scientific research spearheaded by whitening science expert Dr. Rod Kurthy. You can help your patients make evidence-based choices by explaining the facts and pointing them to products and techniques proven by science.

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