Have you been thinking about switching to a whitening toothpaste to revive your once vibrant and bright smile? You may be surprised by the number of whitening toothpastes available on the shelves. To help you make sense of all of the options when it comes to whitening toothpastes, here’s an overview of what ingredients to look for, how they work, and what effects they can have on your teeth.
Common Whitening Ingredients
- Hydrogen Peroxide- Hydrogen peroxide has a long history as a bleaching agent in things like hair lightening products. When used in whitening toothpaste, hydrogen peroxide gently removes common food stains on the enamel and polishes teeth’s surfaces. Being a bleaching agent, hydrogen peroxide can make a big difference when it comes to whitening your smile. Hydrogen peroxide works by cleaning the stains that discolor the tooth from the inside out, as opposed to toothpastes that use high cleaning silica, which only removes surface stains on the outer layer of the teeth.
Because hydrogen peroxide is so good at whitening your teeth, it is true that higher concentrations can speed up the whitening process. But for safety reasons, high percentages of hydrogen peroxide are only used during in-office teeth whitening procedures done by your dentist. During professional whitening procedures, the level of hydrogen peroxide can be as high as 25% to 40%, which is far more than what is considered a safe amount for at-home use.
- Carbamide Peroxide- Used in both over-the-counter whitening products and home-use remedies from your dentist, water-based carbamide peroxide breaks down into two components: hydrogen peroxide and urea. After the breakdown occurs, the hydrogen peroxide is actually what does the whitening of your teeth. A whitening product that contains 10% carbamide peroxide will break down to 3.5% hydrogen peroxide.
Choosing Between Them
There is no statistical evidence that shows that one peroxide works better than the other when it comes to whitening teeth because both hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide have shown to be effective whitening agents. Talk to your dentist before making a whitening decision. They can help you find the best option for you to get the results you want.
Why Use Whitening Toothpaste
Some stains on your teeth don’t react to whitening toothpastes because they become part of the internal structure of the tooth. However, if you use a whitening toothpaste with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, many of your deep set stains will diminish, and you have the peace of mind knowing that your teeth are clean, and your mouth is fresh every day.
Unlike whitening toothpaste, whiteners such as whitening strips or whitening gels are not designed to remove plaque and keep your teeth clean. These products only contain whitening ingredients and lack the benefit of protecting teeth against cavities. Whitening toothpastes are specially formulated to clean and protect your teeth while working to remove surface stains at the same time.
Is it Safe?
When used properly and as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions, both hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide based tooth whitening is safe and effective. Always read the manufacturer’s label to be aware of any risks and call your dentist if you experience any adverse side effects.
The most common side effect of using hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth can be increased sensitivity. However, this sensitivity is usually minor and does not last long.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, younger patients should only be used if supervised by an adult and under the guidance of a dentist. Enamel on developing teeth is thinner than that of permanent teeth, and therefore could produce uneven results.
Don’t let surface stains keep you from sporting a confident smile. Ask your dentist about using a whitening toothpaste to restore your pearly whites while keeping your teeth healthy and protected.