With the overwhelming number of teeth whitening products on the market, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the fads and what actually works. Here is a couple of handy hints which I like to call Whitening 101.
Peroxide (whether it be hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) is the only ingredient that has been clinically proven to whiten teeth. If the product does not contain peroxide, there will be no whitening/bleaching effect on the teeth.
As a general rule, products with higher levels of peroxide tend to work more quickly and effectively. The first step before deciding on which product you want, is to consider how committed you are to whitening and what result you are trying to achieve. Some teeth whitening options require a steadfast commitment for weeks, possibly months, while other products show results in just a few days, or even instantly… again this relates to the level of peroxide in the product. If you can’t commit to a full program, you may want to consider an in clinic whitening treatment, which is a one off treatment that gives you instant results. It is also important to note that bleaching is a process, and you will get better and better results each time you whiten.
Whitening toothpastes, mouthwashes, activated charcoal and the like…
Many whitening products on the market refer to their whitening action by way of stain removal. These products typically contain abrasives like hydrated silica, sodium bicarbonate, and calcium carbonate to polish and remove surface stains caused by tobacco, coffee, tea, soda, and other foods and beverages. These abrasives largely work by mechanically scraping stains off the teeth, hence the “whitened” result, but not by actually bleaching the teeth. These products may benefit you if you have surface staining, however this doesn’t necessarily mean your teeth will be whiter. Due to the abrasive nature of these products, they are not designed for long term use.
Our Yotuel whitening toothpaste is a great example of a quality everyday toothpaste. It has a low abrasive index, carbamide peroxide for effective whitening, and added fluoride, calcium, and phosphate to strengthen enamel.
Whitening pens – generally contain a lower percentage of hydrogen peroxide which means they are much safer to use and less likely to irritate sensitive teeth or gums, however the lower dose of the active ingredient means they are also less likely to cause drastic results . They are easy and convenient to use, and are a good pick-me-up to refresh your smile. They are also beneficial in maintaining the shade of your teeth post whitening treatments.
Whitening strips – are similar to the whitening pens in terms of percentage of active ingredient. Here the strips are worn for approximately 30 minutes. The advantage with strips is that once applied to the teeth, the peroxide remains in contact with the teeth for the 30 minute wear time. One disadvantage is, if you have crooked teeth this may mean that the strip is not in contact with all of the teeth evenly and may lead to patchy whitening results.
Whitening kits – there are so many out there on the market, some even endorsed by celebrities… but be warned – unless sold by a dental professional, these ‘over the counter’ kits contain only low percentages (or sometimes no levels) of peroxide….
A custom made tray kit, or a pre filled tray system somewhere around 8-12% hydrogen peroxide (or 22-30% carbomide peroxide) will give you long lasting and effective whitening results without the high risk of irritation, but it does require some commitment and consistent use initially.
Once you have achieved your desired whitening result, maintenance can be quick and straight forward. To maintain the shade of your new white smile you will not need to undergo the same length of the initial treatment. This is where the whitening pens and strips come in handy.
It’s always best to consult with a dental professional before making a whitening decision. We are a great source of valuable advice and are more than happy to help enable you to make an educated and informed decision about what product Is right for you.