Does Teeth Whitening Work?

You may notice that even if your teeth are white and bright, they have lost some of their shine. It could be due to stains from foods and drinks. This could also be due to getting older.

There are many products and tools that promise to whiten your teeth, and restore that youthful glow.

Do these products work? Are they safe?

Kits, pastes, rinses and strips

There are many over-the counter teeth whitening products, with different ingredient combinations and methods of application.

Tooth whitening products may involve ingredients categorized as:

  • Abrasives : For physically scrubbing off stains.
  • Antiredeposition agents : prevents stain-causing particles sticking to the teeth.
  • Colorants To paint over, mask or camouflage stains.
  • Proteases : enzymes which break down proteins that cause staining.
  • Peroxides : To break down organic compounds that cause stains.
  • Surfactants : To help other good ingredients to reach the surface of the teeth.

Researchers found that the most effective way to change the color of your teeth was by using whitening strips. The whitening rinses and pastes tested did not show any significant whitening effects.

Are Whitening Products Safe?

When used according to the instructions, bleaching products are generally considered safe. You should still be aware of possible side effects and risks.

Sensitivity is the most common side-effect. It can occur because the bleaching agent can penetrate the enamel and irritate dentin.

Try using a product that contains a lesser concentration of bleaching agent if you have sensitive teeth. You can try using the product less frequently. You should stop using the product if you continue to experience sensitivity. Talk to your dentist if this does not improve.

Overuse or misuse of teeth whitening products may also cause permanent damage.

Some researchers warn that using over-the-counter products to whiten teeth is not recommended without consulting a dental professional.

How to whiten your teeth

Speak to your dentist about whitening your teeth.

Professionals can provide you with whitening treatments and products that are more effective than anything you could do yourself.

A dentist can help you understand the effects of different products, as well as how long they last and any side effects.

You can also do other things to keep your smile looking its best.

  • An oral hygiene routine for daily use that includes flossing, brushing and mouthwash.
  • A healthy diet is one that contains a low amount of sugary or acidic food.
  • How to quit smoking.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that can stain, like coffee, red wine and blueberries.

Visit your dentist regularly to have cleanings and checks. You can get deep cleanings from your dentist that you won’t be able to do at home. They can also diagnose and treat any underlying issues that may affect the health or appearance of your teeth.