Have you ever been looking at tubes of toothpaste at the supermarket and asked yourself how they work? Have you wondered if there is a difference between common types of “whitening” toothpaste? In this article from Enamel Dentistry, we’ll be taking a look at how tooth whitening toothpaste works, and how it can help you keep your pearly whites bright and beautiful.
Just about all kinds of toothpaste contain some sort of mild abrasive, as this helps remove plaque and polish your teeth. However, whitening toothpastes usually have a higher level of abrasive particles. Baking soda is often used, as is silica, dicalcium phosphate, and a number of other abrasives.
These abrasives are usually formulated specifically to be softer than your enamel. This ensures that they do not wear down your teeth, but they can still be used to buff away surface stains caused by plaque buildup, and keep your teeth looking bright and beautiful.
All toothpastes with abrasives can whiten your teeth to an extent, but for more whitening power, you’ll want to choose a toothpaste that contains peroxide such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
These are the same compounds used in professional whitening treatments. Peroxide is very volatile, and it breaks the bonds that hold stains onto your teeth upon contact. This “bleaches” the stains away, and restores the natural white color of your enamel.
If you want the best whitening results, you should choose a toothpaste that contains hydrogen or carbamide peroxide. Repeated use of the toothpaste according to its usage instructions can actually reverse minor teeth stains and yellowing. You can also use whitening toothpaste to keep your teeth white after you have had them professionally whitened.
It’s important to make sure that you don’t overuse whitening toothpastes. While some are formulated for everyday use, others are intended to be used only once per day, or on some other treatment schedule. Follow the directions on the tube or packaging to make sure you don’t damage your natural enamel due to overusing the whitening toothpaste.
You should also choose an ADA-approved whitening toothpaste. These toothpastes have been tested and approved by the American Dental Association, so they are generally accepted as being safe to use.
Avoid non-ADA approved “whitening” toothpastes, such as charcoal toothpaste. Charcoal is extremely abrasive. Because of this, it can eliminate some surface stains on your teeth, but it also may permanently wear down your enamel.
To keep your teeth bright and healthy, stick to ADA-approved products with mild, tested abrasives and hydrogen/carbamide peroxide.
Whitening toothpaste is great for minor stains and for maintaining a bright smile. But if you have heavy stains due to tobacco use, frequently drinking coffee, tea, or wine, or due to any other issue, whitening toothpaste alone may not be enough. Professional help from a cosmetic dentist may be required.