Does whitening toothpaste work?
How effective is teeth whitening toothpaste?
Teeth whitening toothpaste is a popular choice when it comes to products that whiten your teeth. They are easy to obtain and cheaper than many other treatments. But does whitening toothpaste actually work?
There are many different varieties of toothpaste and brushing your teeth using one is vital for maintaining good dental hygiene. However, not every brand of toothpaste is designed to give you whiter teeth.
What’s different about teeth whitening toothpaste?
Ordinary, non-whitening toothpastes work by removing some of the surface stains that change the colour of your teeth. Whitening toothpastes are designed for removing surface stains that would otherwise be harder to get rid of. They usually contain a range of coarse ingredients for stain removal, such as silica, that scrub the surface of your teeth.
Many brands of toothpaste also contain a whitening product, such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Some might also contain the chemical blue covarine, which creates an optical illusion that can make teeth appear less yellow.
How long does it take to work?
Whitening toothpastes that contain blue covarine can have an immediate effect. When using a toothpaste that contains other whitening agents, it can take several weeks for you to notice a change. When used twice a day, it can take from two to six weeks for teeth to appear whiter.
With this in mind, it must also be noted that you can undo results by continuing habits that will stain your teeth. Teeth whitening toothpastes do not change the actual colour of your teeth. As such, if you smoke, or drink a lot of coffee or red wine, you may not see the results that you were expecting from your toothpaste.
Staining is not limited to habits which are bad for you. Even foods such as blueberries and beetroot can darken your teeth when eaten. Instead of avoiding these, remember to always brush your teeth after eating and drink water during your meals to rinse your mouth.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
An advantage of teeth whitening toothpastes is that they can combat stains on your teeth that would normally form in the time between dental appointments. Daily cleaning helps to prevent a build-up of stains which make your teeth noticeably darker.
However, while whitening toothpastes can resolve minor damage and some dark surface stains, they are not able to reach far enough into the enamel to eradicate deeper stains. These may still show through, even if there is improvement on the tooth’s surface. The abrasive ingredients present in the toothpaste may even damage the tooth enamel if it is overused in the long term.
What should you look for in a whitening toothpaste?
If you are looking for a whitening toothpaste, always look for a reputable brand. This should preferably be one with a seal of approval from a known dental organisation. It indicates that the product is safe to use and effective at removing stains.
Are there alternatives?
Treatments won’t give you extremely light teeth unless you already have very white teeth naturally. However, if you are unhappy with the results of your tooth whitening treatment, there are alternatives to consider. These include bleaching products such as gels, whitening strips, and tray-based teeth whiteners.
Results from these products are usually easier to predict, as they stay in contact with the tooth surface longer. They may also be more expensive, but may give better results than whitening toothpaste. There is a chance that they will make your teeth sensitive, but this is reversed by stopping use.
You can also have your teeth whitened professionally, at a qualified dental clinic.
It is best to consult with an expert before whitening, especially if you have a history of sensitive teeth.
Talk to your dentist or orthodontist
Whenever you consider buying an over-the-counter teeth whitening treatment, or even booking an appointment to get your teeth whitened at a clinic, it’s worth consulting your dentist first. A qualified and trained professional can take you through all your options and help you to understand if the process is right for you.
At Splash Orthodontics, our team is highly trained and we are committed to providing the best care we can. If you are worried about your teeth yellowing, or if you have another question about your oral and dental health, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.