Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday March 24 2010

There's something I need to get off my chest. Nothing bad. Just something I want to announce: I love hydrogen peroxide. Yup. I do. Let me explain:
My whole life, despite being a very diligent and zealous brusher of teef, my teef were never quite pearly white. It might have had something to do with my diet or all the tea I drink daily, nevertheless, no matter how much or how many times a day I brushed I could never get my teef to be white. I know a lot of people do whitening at the dentist but that costs a lot and there has to be another way!
About 18 months ago I asked my friend (who was very pearly white teef) how he got his teef so white. He informed me that he rinsed for one minute everyday with hydrogen peroxide. Well, I never! "What a preposterous idea!" I thought. This is certainly just a case of confirmation bias, he probably already has naturally white teef. So for the subsequent 18 months I went on with my usual oral hygiene habits and with predictably no change in the aesthetic appearance of my teef.
As a further aside I'd like to note two things: 1. that my work environment is one in which we are rewarded for superficial traits, pearly white teef being one of them, and so it is to my benefit to fret like an old woman over the colour of the bones in my mouth. 2. My work environment rewards aesthetic qualities rather than those of the intellect and consequentially not everyone I work with has highly developed critical thinking skills (gasp!). The effect of this skewing of development is there is a high degree of credulity when it comes to magic beauty lotions and potions (amongst other things) and an alarming lack of familiarity with the clinical trial literature on said lotions and potions.
OK, enough...you get the point...back to my new found love, hydrogen peroxide, and my teef. I guess by now you can probably figure out where I'm going with this...a few weeks ago, on a whim I tried rinsing for a week with hydrogen peroxide and....rinsing with hydrogen peroxide for a minute every day has whitened my teef! I can hear the hoards of scientists shrieking that I'm only one data point, the sample size is only one, I didn't set up any controls or placebo group and the evidence is only anecdotal but...if you want whiter teef and want to avoid paying for it at your dentist...try it! 2 months worth of the stuff will only cost you about a dollar!
In order to bolster my claim and soothe the skeptics howling for evidence that rinsing with hydrogen peroxide whitens teef I did a little google research. Here are some of the results:
The highly regarded hubpages.com says:

Hydrogen peroxide is a weak acid with oxidizing properties which act like a bleaching agent when used in teeth whitening solutions. It's also often found in tooth pastes, disinfectants, and mouth washes.

I know what you're thinking bleach is basic and H2O2 is acidic so why the comparison? I don't know but we get the point, right? Also from the same website:

It's important to note that hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening is considered to be safe and effective by the American Dental Association.

Ah! Ha! Vindication at last! I suppose if I were a real keener I'd go the American (or Canadian) Dental website and verify this, come to think of it, why didn't I start there?...too late!

During the course of my massive research project I also found some funny (not intentionally) frequently suggested folk methods of teef whitening that I don't recommend but you may try at your leisure and report the results back to me:

INGREDIENTS: water baking soda and strawberries
INSTRUCTIONS: First you take 4 strawberries and cut off the stem then you take 1/4 a cup of water and 1/2 a cup of baking soda, then you put it all in a blender and blend on low until it becomes slightly pastie,then brush your teeth with it and re brush with youre regular toothpaste. !!!!WARNING!!!!! it taste horrible but works.

Shannon Jamison
Sugar Land, Texas

Take some foil and fold it to form to your teeth. Take alittle toothpaste and bakingsoda and mix together really well. Put some of the mixture into the foil and place on your teeth. Leave on for one hour everyday. Brush teeth normally afterwards. You will notice whiter teeth in just a few days.

The strawberries were amusing but I don't know quite how to respond to the second one. I'll begin by saying I'm not surprised it was submitted from Texas. Lets assume for a moment that this actually works..."leave on for one HOUR EVERYDAY"!!!! An hour? Everyday? Allz I can say is, it better darn work! Who the crap is going to walk around their house every day with a home made tin foil tray in their mouth, drooling toothpaste and baking soda all over themselves for an HOUR? ...Unemployed people who live alone...maybe.
If it weren't for the sincerity of the introduction I would have discounted this next one as a joke:

I`m not sure what information you need personally but I live in Japan. I teach English here and heard a great home remedy from one of my students.

Gather ashes from a fire (a wood fire) and dip a wet toothbrush into the soot. Simply brush with the soot. Brush with toothpaste after to get the minty taste. The Crystals in the ashe really make your teeth whiter right away! Try it! It works wonders.

...Personally, I don't think you're fit to be in charge of young malleable minds...and personally I think it's probably going to take more that a little minty toothpaste to get the taste of ashes out of my mouth--you cretin!
Following on the heals of the ash-hole the next entry comes from Canada--I have to admire his technical knowledge:

Country of Remedy: Canada

Ingredients: Wood Ash
Instructions: This is an update to the suggestion to brush with wood ash. The reason wood ash whitens your teeth is because it contains potassium hydroxide (aka lye). However, only hard wood ash contains significant concentrations of potassium hydroxide, soft wood ash does not.Before lye was available commercially, soap was made by leeching the potassium hydroxide from hard wood ash and then combining it with tallow (rendered animal fat).
You may want to exercise caution when using hard wood ash too often as a tooth whitening agent. The harshness of the potassium hydroxide could significantly damage your teeth over time.
So remember, if you're going to brush your teef with ash from hardwoods, please exercise caution.
Some people suggested brushing with lemon juice. I like this response and it also addresses the very popular strawberry method.

The reason that lemon juice "works" is that it causes the teeth to lose calcium (which gives teeth some of their off-white color). Calcium is a major component of healthy teeth, and once it is lost, your teeth become very susceptible to decay. DO NOT use lemon juice for whitening.If you choose to brush with strawberries, be sure to brush your teeth IMMEDIATELY afterwards with fluoride toothpaste and also FLOSS. The sugar and acid in the strawberry will harm your teeth more than it will help if
you don't immediately brush your teeth with regular toothpaste. Also be cautious of brushing too vigourously as the strawberry seeds could damage the gums (or even the teeth).The best home methods are baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. Try to
stick with these. Remember that these are not a substitute for brushing with
fluoride toothpaste -- you must brush with fluoride toothpaste after ANY whitening method to prevent tooth decay.

Well everybody...I hope this helps you sort through the very complex intricacies of toof whitening. Please share with me your own folk remedies so I can ridicule them!

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