Do Whitening Toothpastes Really Work?
Teeth whitening is one of our most popular cosmetic procedures. It seems like many of our clients want to have the bright white smiles of the actors and models that they see on television, in print and in the movies. We don’t disagree that a white smile is a great way to boost your confidence and make you feel better, however, there are effective ways to whiten your teeth, and then there are the treatments that just aren’t that effective. One of these questionable treatments is whitening toothpaste. While they have a purpose, many patients don’t see the results that are often advertised. So the question then becomes, do whitening toothpastes really work? Here are our thoughts.
How Does Whitening Toothpaste Work?
This is important to understanding what to expect when you use a whitening toothpaste for a brighter smile. There are two ways to achieve a whiter smile. There are bleaching products and there are non-bleaching products. Many of the whitening procedures that are done in the dentist office utilize bleaching products. These products are intended to deep clean teeth of stains using a chemical. There are also over the counter bleaching products. You may recognize these as whitening strips, gels and tray applicators.
Toothpastes use a combination of chemical and physical methods to whiten your teeth. All whitening toothpastes have an abrasive compound that is used to polish stains from your teeth. It’s important to note that this abrasive method is only effective for removing mild surface stains.
So Do They Work?
The answer to this question is, yes, whitening toothpastes work, but not for everyone. Because the level of whitening that can be accomplished with most whitening toothpastes is minimal, these are not good products for the individual who has heavily stained teeth and wants a bright white smile. For these patients, in-office whitening procedures are likely more effective. However, whitening products can be really great for a couple of types of patients: The patient that wants to maintain their in-office whitening procedure, keeping their teeth whiter for longer. For these patients, a whitening toothpaste will gently scrub away surface stains from food and drink that may make teeth look dingy. The second type of patient that will be satisfied with the results of whitening toothpastes is the patient that has naturally whiter teeth, or who avoid foods and drink that can stain teeth. These people achieve gentle whitening, resulting in a brighter smile without chemicals or an office appointment.
Other Helpful Toothpaste Hints
Not all whitening toothpastes are the same. Make sure that your whitening toothpaste is an anti-cavity product and contains a small amount of topical fluoride. These are standard in most toothpastes, but if the product you prefer isn’t anti-cavity or has no fluoride, you may not be giving your teeth the best possible care. Second, if you have teeth sensitivity issues, you may want to avoid whitening toothpastes. The abrasive in the toothpaste can make sensitivity issues worse. If you really want to whiten sensitive teeth, look for toothpastes made for sensitive teeth that are indicated for whitening. These will contain a gentler abrasive, and will also provide some protection for your sensitive teeth.
Teeth whitening is a great way to improve your smile and boost your confidence. You have a lot of options for achieving a brighter, whiter smile. Dr. Mansky recommends in office whitening procedures as the safest and most effective way to get a whiter smile. However, whitening toothpastes are a great option for some patients. To learn more about tooth whitening products, or to schedule an appointment for a cleaning, please call us today at (248) 689-5508.