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Seriously, we need to stop believing all the myths we hear about teeth

Your smile says a lot about you. The last thing you want to see reflected back in your nearly perfect selfies is a mouthful of not-so-white teeth.

There are many teeth whitening products and DIY remedies that claim to brighten your smile. Perhaps you’ve considered some of these methods but are put off by the price, time and possible side effects. No worries. Here are eight common myths, debunked.

1. Hydrogen peroxide makes teeth whiter

Yes, hydrogen peroxide is a common bleaching agent in teeth whiteners, but using it straight out of the bottle is not a good idea. Rinsing your mouth with hydrogen peroxide will clean your mouth but not whiten your teeth.

More: Teeth whitening: 5 things you should know before you go for the glow

2. Strawberries and lemons whiten teeth

There are a few highly acidic natural alternatives that can whiten, but at a cost. The acid in strawberries and lemons can damage your teeth’s enamel, which can lead to increased sensitivity and permanent damage to your teeth.

3. At-home whitening kits are quick fixes

They do work, but slowly. At-home whitening kits often have the same bleaching agents as the professional ones do, but at lower levels. Neither at-home nor professional whitening will be effective on crowns or veneers; keep that in mind before you go too bright.

More: Electric toothbrushes may not be as good for our teeth as we thought

4. Tooth whitening harms enamel

The teeth whitening process does not melt away your teeth’s enamel; only an acid will do that. Bleaching works by opening pores and allowing a cleaning agent to enter the inner tooth to clean out the stains. After the whitening treatment, your teeth’s pores will close again.

More: How to make your smile look brighter

5. UV rays help speed up whitening

Many dental offices will use UV light to help speed up the whitening process. According to one Norwegian study, UV light is not only ineffective, but it may also cause harm to teeth, gums and other areas around the mouth that are exposed.

6. You can’t whiten your teeth if they are sensitive

You can still get your teeth whitened even if they are sensitive. Ask your dentist to recommend a gentle whitening toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.

7. Tooth whitening works for everyone

Unfortunately as you age, your teeth will become thinner and will naturally discolor, sometimes becoming more grayish. Teeth whitening treatments work best on yellow and brown stains. Also, teeth whitening is not recommended for anyone with gum disease, broken or damaged teeth, restorations or exposed roots.

More: 5 tips for a bright, shiny smile

8. Teeth whitening lasts forever

If only it were true! Your newly bright smile will begin to fade within a few months. That depends mostly on how much heavily staining and acidic foods like coffee, wine, tea, soda, chocolate, etc., you consume. If you want your teeth to stay white, keep those foods at a minimum.

This post was sponsored by Sensodyne® True White®.

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