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Getting Acquainted With Whitening Toothpaste

According to dentist and associate professor Melissa Ing, DMD of the University of Connecticut, having whiter teeth is the number one concern of patients when it comes to the appearance of the teeth.

Over time, our teeth can lose their pearly white color as the outer layer of the enamel wears out and reveals the darker tissue below, at the middle of the tooth and around the nerves and blood vessels. Dental plaque caused by the accumulation of oral bacteria can become stained by chromogenic bacteria or calcify and result to the formation of a hard deposit on the teeth. They can also be discolored or stained due to age, food and drinks, tobacco use, trauma, or medication.

Fortunately, Dentistry has created ways to restore the teeth’s whiter appearance through whitening toothpaste.

Toothpaste, also known as paste or gel dentifrice, has become a leading necessity in oral care. Since its entry into the market in the 1880s, various types and formulations of toothpaste with different promises have emerged, including whitening toothpaste.

But, how true is whitening toothpaste to its word of giving whiter teeth?

Defining Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste is a type of dentifrice that contains abrasives and ingredients designed to remove stains on the teeth’s surface.

Whitening toothpaste can contain one of these three whitening ingredients:

  • Mild abrasives
    • include ingredients like magnesium carbonate, hydrated aluminum oxide, and calcium carbonate
    • remove surface stains
  • Hydrogen peroxide
    • The active ingredient in whitening products and procedure used in dental offices
    • Safe to use and produce excellent results over a longer period
    • Can cause mild sensitivity
  • Carbamide peroxide
    • Produce faster results than hydrogen peroxide
    • Whitening agent breaking down into hydrogen peroxide

When whitening toothpaste doesn’t work:

  • In-office teeth whitening
  • At-home whitening product like a whitening pen
  • Whitening rinses
  • Teeth whitening strips
  • Tray bleaching

A teeth whitening procedure is not recommended for children under 16 years old, pregnant or lactating patients, those with sensitive teeth, allergies, and gum disease. Teeth whitening may not be effective in patients who underwent dental treatments like fillings, crowns, bridges, and partial dentures.

After the whitening treatment, teeth can become sensitive to heat and cold. Gums can also be sore and irritated for a few days. Dental professionals also advise to avoid smoking and foods and beverages that lead to stains as the newly-whitened teeth are vulnerable to stain.

Whiter Teeth without Whitening the Teeth

  • Proper oral hygiene
  • Drinking water
  • Eat an apple
  • Avoid excessive consumption of sugar-based food and beverages
  • Biannual dental checkup and teeth cleaning

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