Walking down the toothpaste aisle at the supermarket is enough to give you a headache. So many different brands and types of toothpastes are now available, each boasting what it can do for your teeth and mouth. Then you notice a section of ‘Whitening’ toothpastes in shiny boxes that catch your eye.

Ever wondered about whitening toothpastes? and do they work?

Day-to-day surface stains from coloured foods and beverages or other lifestyle habits can be lifted by the scrubbing nature of whitening toothpaste. These toothpastes are effective at removing surface stains from the teeth, but they can’t change the natural tooth colour.

Whitening toothpastes rely heavily on abrasives for their results, and while these abrasives can effectively scrub away surface stains, they may also remove some of the tooth enamel. As the enamel wears away, you will see more of the dentin beneath, and because the dentin is a darker yellow or brown in colour, this can result in the colour of your teeth darkening with continual use of whitening toothpaste.

In the manufacturers’s clinical trial, ‘Arm & Hammer Advanced Whitening’ whitened teeth for 39 percent of users. However, 25 percent were left with darker teeth, demonstrating the potential risks inherent in these products.

Whitening toothpastes achieve long-term results through a combination of abrasives that polish the teeth and chemicals that break down stains. Common abrasives found in whitening toothpastes include hydrated aluminium oxide, Calcium carbonate or Magnesium carbonate.

Whitening toothpastes are not the same as over-the-counter tooth-whitening bleaches. Though many toothpastes contain a bleaching ingredient, it’s washed away fairly quickly in this form. For the best results, bleaches must stay in contact with the teeth for an extended period, as they do with a whitening strip or tray.

It’s important to understand that no bleaching or whitening product is without risks. The most common issue with whitening toothpastes and other similar products is irritation of the gums and mouth. You may also experience increased tooth sensitivity which can worsen over time. Therefore, it’s very important that the use of all whitening products be used under supervision of an appropriately experience dentist and not get swayed by the marketing hype.

Professional Whitening Alternatives

If you want to go beyond removing surface stains on the teeth, the most effective way to whiten your teeth is to have your teeth professionally whitened. These have a higher concentration of the active whitening ingredient and produce more noticeable results. While an over-the-counter bleaching kit will typically contain 10 percent hydrogen peroxide, the in-chair treatment takes about an hour, saving you weeks of repetitive applications using a concentration of almost 40 percent hydrogen peroxide.

If you’re looking for whiter teeth, whitening toothpastes may prove to be an effective solution when used correctly to treat surface stains but be aware there are risks and the negative impact it may have on your teeth. However, if you want to achieve a deeper and longer-lasting white, make an appointment with our dentist at Lydiard St Dental Clinic Ballarat to address any concerns regarding the colour of your teeth and find a satisfying solution.

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