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Do At-Home Teeth Whitening Products Really Work?

Posted in Dental Health

With the proliferation of selfies, Facebook photos and cell phone cameras, people have become more aware of their smiles. One aspect that many begin to notice is that their smile has lost some of its brightness and developed a yellow or discolored appearance. While teeth discoloration is due to several different factors, most discoloration is from food, drinks and smoking. This surface level discoloration can be removed using specialized whitening processes and some over the counter products. However, consumers often expect far better results than over the counter whitening products can actually achieve. In addition, some whitening products can cause damage to the teeth and gums when used improperly

Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes contain an abrasive agent that works to polish away surface stains on teeth with every use. However, they simply do not stay on the teeth long enough to actually penetrate the enamel to remove deeper staining. This would require that they contain peroxide, which most of them do not. While whitening toothpastes do remove some staining when used for extended periods, they won’t whiten teeth very much. In addition, the abrasiveness of the toothpaste can cause gum irritation and pain if it begins to erode the gum line.

Teeth Whitening Mouthwashes

Many over the counter mouthwashes that are sold as whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide as the primary ingredient. While hydrogen peroxide does have a mild bleaching effect, like whitening toothpastes they will do very little to remove stubborn deep stains like coffee and tea. In order for these mouthwashes to work, individuals would have to rinse numerous times per day for months before seeing any results.

Teeth Whitening Strips and Gels

Whitening strips and gels that are allowed to sit on the teeth for a period of time are actually very effective at removing stains. However, they do not work as quickly as the whitening treatments used in dentist offices. In addition, when used improperly or too often, these products can cause gum irritation and even a permanent blue tint to the teeth. They can also cause tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods that may be permanent.

Individuals who are interested in exploring their teeth whitening options should contact a dentist in Sioux Falls who specializes in whitening procedures. No matter the cause of teeth discoloration, there are ways to restore teeth to their bright, pearly white hue.

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Dr. Swingdorf took the time to show me the pictures of my teeth and his recommended treatment plan - Dawn K.