Every year a new craze in teeth whitening hits the market and touts itself as the hottest new invention to help you get your best smile. The problem is, they don’t always work. And many of those products are too costly to take a gamble. So that you don’t have to play the guessing game or take a chance with your coins, ESSENCE asked seven Black dental professionals, in and around the Big Apple, to weigh in on the effectiveness of the latest inventions that have people running to the stores in hopes of a whiter grill.

Dental Sticks: 4 out of 7 dental professionals say they’re effective if used properly.

“They are effective in that they have a fibrous component that gets some of the surface stain off of the teeth. Those sticks are used in places where the diet is tremendously different than say the diet in New York City. The down side is they are abrasive, and over time can cause a significant amount of tooth wear.” – Dr. Lee Gause, DDS of Smile Design Manhattan.

Salt Toothpaste/Salt Rinse: 1 out of 7 dental professionals say it can be effective but warn against overuse.

“Using a salt or baking soda toothpaste can help eliminate extrinsic, or surface, stains from the teeth, but neither will really penetrate the enamel and whiten below the tooth surface.  Additionally, the abrasiveness can harm the enamel.” – Dr. Angela P. Abernathy, DDS, President and CEO of 141 Dental Studio PC in New York.

At-Home Whitening LED Kits: 7 out of 7 dental professionals say they’re effective but recommend to only use as directed.

With LED whitening kits your mouth is open for an extended period of time, dehydrating your teeth and causing them to appear whiter. LED lights can [also] heat the whitening gel which can render the active ingredient that whitens your teeth inactive and can cause more tooth sensitivity. You want a whitening system where the whitening gel is required to be refrigerated when you’re not using it to be sure that the active ingredient that whitens your teeth is effective and does not cause further sensitivity.” – Dr. Kandis Smith, DMD, Owner of SmileVana in Easton, Massachusetts.

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Coconut Oil Pulls: 2 out of 7 dental professionals says it’s effective. But none recommend it for whitening.

Charcoal and oil pulling remove staining from teeth caused by plaque. But that can also be done by just brushing properly or even by getting a dental cleaning.” – Dr. Zahra Omar, DDS of Zara Dental in New York.

Charcoal Toothpaste: 4 out of 7 dental professionals say it’s effective, but it’s none highly recommend it.

Charcoal toothpaste does whiten teeth but only because it’s abrasive and can remove a layer of enamel, so I definitely don’t recommend.” – Dr. Tricia Quartey, DMD, FAGD, CEO of Noble Dental Care, and Faculty Attending at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY.

Whitening Powders/Diamond Dust: 2 out of 7 dental professionals says it can be effective but don’t recommend. Some hadn’t even heard of this method of whitening.

You can maintain white teeth by steering clear of foods that stain (coffee, red wine, tea, tomato sauce, etc.) If you can’t give up your caffeine fix, try drinking your coffee or tea through an eco-friendly straw.” – Dr. June Harewood, Program Director of the Orthodontics Residency Program at St. Barnabas Hospital.

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