Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How Can I Whiten My Teeth?

Many people are interested in whitening their teeth to improve their smile. There are numerous methods that are advocated online to achieve whiter teeth, however, many of them do not work or can be damaging to your oral health.

There are many natural methods for whitening that can be found online including:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Coconut oil
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Fruits such as strawberries or banana peel

The problem with these methods for whitening is that they either don't work or they work by abrasive or acidic methods which over time can damage the enamel of the teeth leading to sensitivity.

According to the American Dental Association their are two ways to whiten teeth:

  1. Using a product that contains bleaching ingredients, usually some form of peroxide, that changes the color of the teeth by penetrating through the enamel and bleaching the discolored dentin deeper inside the tooth.
  2. Abrasive methods that simply remove the superficial stains on top of your enamel. 

The first category would include OTC products such as whitening strips or gels and professional products found at the dental office such as in office whitening or take home gels with a custom tray. The big advantage that products delivered at the dental office have is that they protect the gums from the irritating and potentially harmful effects of the bleaching solution and distribute the bleach in a uniform manner. They also have a higher concentration of peroxide so the effects are noticeable in a much shorter time.

The second category would include whitening toothpastes and some of the natural remedies including baking soda and activated charcoal. The big disadvantage with this category is the damage over time that can be done to the enamel and the fact that they don't penetrate into the dentin to remove the staining there.

Before trying any whitening method it is a good idea to visit your dentist for a good cleaning which can remove the surface staining and find out what method would work best for you. Whatever method you choose stop if you are experiencing side effects such as sensitivity to hot and cold.


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