Home remedies for teeth: fact or fiction?

With many of us spending more time at home, we’re noticing a lot of advice on the internet about home remedies for teeth whitening and toothaches. While the advice has good intentions, many at-home dental “remedies” can do more harm than good.

To help you figure out which home remedies for teeth are harmful or helpful, we’ve made a myth-busting mini-game! Listed are 6 dental remedies. See if you can guess whether they are true or false.


#1: Salt-water rinse will ease a toothache.




Toothaches are a symptom of a severe dental issue, rather than being a dental condition in itself. Since there are many dental conditions that cause toothaches, a salt-water rinse may not address the actual problem. 

Common issues that result in toothaches include a cracked tooth, rotten tooth, impacted wisdom tooth, or even jaw issues like TMJ pain. If you’re experiencing a toothache, no matter how minor or painful, it’s best to book in with your dentist ASAP.

Leaving a toothache untreated can result in serious pain. Rather than waiting to see if it gets worse, give us a call at our dental clinic in Blackburn. Our dentists can give you advice over the phone to see if you need to come in.

Need an emergency dentist in Blackburn? > 

woman look at bathroom mirror while using a home teeth whitening kit, a popular but questionable home remedy for teeth

#2: You can whiten your teeth at home.


True – but the only safe and effective method is using a teeth whitening treatment from your dentist.


Home teeth whitening kits have gained enormous popularity. This is because they’re often marketed as cheap and easy to use. However, we have major concerns about their efficacy and safety.

Incorrect teeth whitening can strip your teeth of their protective enamel layer, which ironically causes permanently yellow teeth.

Most home teeth whitening kits available on the internet come with a light to ‘activate the whitening gel’.  This does not happen. What the light actually does is dehydrates the teeth. Teeth that are dry and dehydrated look temporarily whiter which is why often the teeth do appear whiter straight after using the device. However, this fades quickly and your original colour will come back as soon as the teeth become rehydrated with the saliva in your mouth. Others with “whitening” ingredients don’t have a high enough concentration to work long term.

For safe and effective teeth whitening at home, you’ll need to see your dentist first. You might be surprised to find how easy and affordable proper teeth whitening is.

Are you unhappy with your smile? Find a solution at Whitehorse Dental >

Stop using lemons to whiten teeth

#3: Activated charcoal and apple cider vinegar naturally clean and whiten teeth.




This myth is one of the most damaging home remedies for teeth. Activated charcoal is abrasive and apple cider vinegar is acidic. Abrasive and acidic ingredients strip off our protective tooth layer (tooth enamel). Once tooth enamel is gone, this damage is permanent.

Instead, show some love to your tooth enamel. Avoid the daily use of these ingredients on your teeth at all cost.

Read how apple cider vinegar erodes teeth >

Food + teeth, snacking increases the risk of tooth decay

#4: Reducing sugar helps prevent cavities.




While we’re all familiar with this one, the problem is more with hidden sugars. Health foods like dried fruits, fruit juice, protein balls, muesli bars, sports drinks, and everyday pantry items like sauces, frozen meals, and even canned vegetables, contain sugar that is hard to notice.

Additionally, “sugar-free” products contain sweeteners that are similarly bad for teeth.

However, we’re human! And sugary treats, like chocolate and soft drinks, are undeniably tasty. To find a healthy balance for teeth, reduce the number of times you eat per day to no more than 5 “eating frequencies”. Having allocated meal times instead of constantly snacking and grazing will significantly reduce the risk of getting cavities. 

How does 5 meals a day keeps the dentist away? >

woman experiencing pain of sensitive after eating a cold icecream

#5: Teeth brushing after meals prevent bad breath.




Your tooth enamel is at their weakest after a meal. This is because the environment in your mouth becomes acidic when you eat, as part of your natural digestive process. Acid weakens tooth enamel.

If you brush your teeth after a meal, you risk brushing off the tooth enamel too. This damage is permanent as tooth enamel can’t “grow” back. Without the enamel layer, there’s nothing protecting the tooth against bad bacteria, which is the nasty stuff that causes bad breath and decay. This means, ironically, your breath will be worse!

Instead, swish some water around your mouth after eating.  This is a great habit to get into as it should quickly clear any residual bits of food from around the teeth.

Learn how to brush your teeth like a pro >

At Whitehorse Dental in Blackburn, we're happy to tell you that drinking coffee isn't bad for your teeth!

#6: Avoid coffee because it’s bad for teeth.




Coffee gets a bad rap because it tends to stain your teeth. If you enjoy a daily morning cuppa, you’ll notice your teeth may be discoloured or darker in colour than you’d like. But the good news is this discolouration is cosmetic, meaning, it’s not doing lasting damage to your teeth.

If you’d like to reduce the staining effect of coffee, a simple way is to add milk or drink some water to rinse your mouth. However, avoid brushing your teeth straight after a coffee as this can actually damage your teeth by stripping off tooth enamel.

Whitening teeth is an easy procedure too, and we offer two teeth whitening options at our dental clinic in Blackburn.

Do you have a home dental question? Ask our friendly dentists in Blackburn >