Dentists around the world are condemning the DIY bleaching trend that can cause ‘irreversible damage”
From make-up tutorials to fast-food ordering secrets, many TikTok videos can be beneficial and inspiring. With millions of users claiming to have solid life hacks, medical professionals are putting out a plea to avoid participating in dangerous trends that can have long-lasting negative effects.
The most recent trend that has faced criticism is a new viral teeth whitening hack circulating the popular social media app.
These days we are spending more and more time on camera, so it’s no surprise that people are willing to go great lengths to get whiter teeth.
Unfortunately, getting the medical-grade procedure done at the dental office is a hassle that can set you back hundreds of dollars.
That’s perhaps why earlier this year, a homemade remedy for teeth whitening that combines store-bought liquid hydrogen peroxide and baking soda went viral on Tiktok. The trend was quickly condemned by dentists due to its ability to cause serious damage.
Despite the backlash, another DIY teeth whitening trick is making the rounds on TikTok, and experts are warning that it could be dangerous.
One of the most popular TikTok tutorials comes from user @clauds244, who posted a video a couple of weeks ago, demonstrating the process and technique she uses – which relies on a product normally used as an antiseptic and bleaching agent… store-bought 3% hydrogen peroxide.
“So I saw a dentist on TikTok saying that the main ingredient in whitening strips was hydrogen peroxide and it’s really cheap to buy on its own,” @clauds244 says in the video.
She goes on to explain that she bought a £4 bottle on eBay and has been dipping cotton buds in the solution, then saturating her teeth with it for 30 seconds to a minute, and completes the process by swishing a capful of the chemical in her mouth. The video documents her progression to seemingly whiter teeth. It exploded online with over 15 million views, and sales for 3% hydrogen peroxide sky-rocketed.
But health professionals have slammed the makeshift method as “extremely dangerous” – and it could lead to tooth loss if used in the wrong way.
Using higher concentrations unsupervised, as some videos advocate, raises the risk of damage to teeth and gums, including burns to the mouth, tooth and gum sensitivity, as well as irritated or inflamed gums.
Dr. Krystyna Wilczynski, a cosmetic dental surgeon, recently told The Sun: “It’s worrying that people are willing to put their health at risk. Professional teeth whitening involves custom-made trays that fit around the customer’s teeth and ensure no bleaching fluid leaks onto the gums.”
Dr. Wilczynski confirms that “If hydrogen peroxide is inappropriately used in the mouth, it can lead to gum irritation which can, in turn, lead to gum recession, tooth sensitivity and worst-case scenario, tooth loss. As hydrogen peroxide is a chemical, it is also extremely dangerous if you swallow too much.”
When @clauds244, who calls herself “Teeth whitening girl” in her profile, was asked about public scrutiny of her video, she stated, “I do not advise anyone to do this, especially if they do not feel comfortable doing so. It was an ongoing trend that I wanted to share my opinion on.”
The TikTokker advocates using the 3% hydrogen peroxide multiple days in a row, but dental professionals warn that frequent usage can cause some serious and long-lasting damage.
In an interview with Health, Dentist, and Waterpik spokesperson Chris Strandburg, DDS, warns
“Gum irritation can get severe if more bleaching is done when the gums are already irritated. Tooth sensitivity is usually temporary (24 hours or so), but improper bleaching with these high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can increase tooth sensitivity permanently with long term use.”
In addition to the health risks and warnings, some TikTok users such as @cheyenn3 tried the hack but said she “didn’t really see a difference”.
Her skepticism was echoed by multiple other TikTokers who attempted the challenge, with little to no success.
Don’t get discouraged- safely achieving a whiter, brighter smile from home IS possible.
The pros agree you should play it safe and get the same results by using a dentist-recommended whitening product that is gentler on the gums and enamel.
And, as always, do your research before following any health or beauty hack you see on the internet – especially if they haven’t been verified by reputable professionals.