Have you been thinking about reviving your once-vibrant and bright smile? The number of whitening toothpastes available on the shelves may surprise you. To help you make sense of all the whitening toothpaste options, here’s an overview of what ingredients to look for, how they work, and what effects they can have on your teeth.
- Hydrogen Peroxide – Hydrogen peroxide has a long history as a bleaching agent in products such as hair lightening treatments. When used in whitening toothpaste, hydrogen peroxide gently removes common food stains on the enamel and can make a big difference when it comes to whitening your smile. Hydrogen peroxide works by removing extrinsic stains and – in some cases – intrinsic stains, 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. For safety reasons, however, higher percentages of hydrogen peroxide are only used during in-office teeth whitening procedures administered 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 at-home remedies from your dentist, water-based carbamide peroxide breaks down into two components: hydrogen peroxide and urea. After the breakdown occurs, hydrogen peroxide is actually what whitens your teeth. A whitening product that contains 10% carbamide peroxide will typically break down to 3.5% hydrogen peroxide, depending on the concentration.
If you're unsure which whitening toothpaste ingredient is best, talk to your dentist before making a decision. They can help you find the best option to get the results you want.