How white should your teeth really be? Do you ever look in the mirror and think to yourself that your teeth are not as white as they should be? What are you comparing them to? How white are they supposed to be? Thanks to TV, movies and social media, we associate bright white teeth with a healthier, more beautiful brighter smile. Many people are of the opinion that the whiter teeth are, the better. So many people feel this way that in 2020, global spending on over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening products, including strips, toothpaste, gels and mouthwashes, exceeded $6 billion USD.
Whiter Teeth Aren’t Necessarily Healthier
The desire for whiter teeth is entirely cosmetic. Bright white teeth may not be any healthier than teeth that are their natural shade, and the colour of teeth doesn’t have any impact on the health of your gums. Having said that, there is something to be said for the boost in confidence that a brighter smile can provide. Is using a tooth whitening toothpaste or DIY strips good enough?
Your teeth are not naturally pure white. Sure, they can become stained and discoloured for a variety of reasons, including the foods and drinks you consume. Clean the stains away, and your teeth may be slightly whiter, but they still have a yellowish hue from the dentin that lies just beneath the tooth’s enamel.
Whitening Products You Use at Home
Some DIY methods work by using a combination of stain removal and bleaching. Toothpastes may use abrasives to scrub stains from the enamel. The end result is that a microscopic layer of enamel is removed each time the product is used. Using an abrasive product over an extended period of time can actually thin the enamel enough to allow the dentin to be even more visible – and therefore, teeth can appear to be more yellow than white.
Tooth whitening gels and strips use hydrogen peroxide to break down surface stains. Some toothpastes and mouthwashes also use a blue dye, called blue covarine. The particles of dye adhere to the tooth’s enamel. The result is an optical illusion that teeth are, in fact, whiter than they are. The particles wear off as you eat, drink and brush, so you need to continue using the product for a lasting effect. The effect of any over-the-counter product is minimal, but if used correctly, you may get a bit of a brightening boost.
Professional Whitening is More Powerful
What if you want a little more than just a boost? Professional teeth whitening may be the way to go. There are several benefits to professional teeth whitening methods, including the ability to whiten teeth by several shades. Professional teeth whitening, done in your dentist’s office by a trained professional, involves the use of a special gel containing a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide and other ingredients than over-the-counter kits don’t contain. The gel is applied to teeth, and a bright light is used to activate the chemicals in the gel.
Together, the chemicals break down surface stains and bleach the outer layers of dentin below. The process is repeated a couple of times during the treatment to get the best results.
Watch what you eat and drink that may cause stains to build up again, and practice proper oral health care habits, including regular brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups, and your teeth whitening results can last about 2 years.
Feel Better About Your Brighter Smile
Whether you choose a DIY method or professional teeth whitening depends on your budget and the degree of whitening you hope to achieve. Whatever you choose, teeth whitening is an effective and relatively inexpensive cosmetic dentistry treatment that can go a long way to brightening your brighter smile and your day!
Give us a call or contact us via the webform to book an appointment for tooth whitening at Cranberry Hill Dentistry. We provide a full range of cosmetic dentistry services, including teeth whitening, braces and dental veneers.