credit: Danika Miller Internet & Entertainment Writer
Teeth Whitening Guide
Whitening your teeth is a cosmetic practice long past trend-territory. It can be traced back to the early Romans and prehistoric housewives. In the twenty-first century, about 89% of U.S. surveyed orthodontists had patients requesting their teeth whitened. If you want to skip the dental bill, over-the-counter and home remedies are the most popular. There are a lot of ways to go about shining your grill and we’ll break them down below.
The Science Behind It
After speaking with five doctors in our review of the best teeth whitening products, it was clear the medical field stands behind the proven efficacy of one method — hydrogen peroxide. The American Dental Association claims it’s the only thing that works to remove both surface and deep stains.
Guaranteed pearly whites can be achieved with bleaching or non-bleaching techniques. A product that bleaches the tooth will contain the peroxides that can remove deep and surface stains by releasing oxygen into the enamel. While non-bleaching products will use chemical action to remove only surface stains.
The ADA reports the safe upper limit for hydrogen peroxide in a product is 10%, and for carbamide peroxide (a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and urea) it’s 35%. Over-the-counter methods contain lower percentages than a professional bleaching and are safe to use in moderation. At high percentages, however, these chemicals can cause burning sensations, tooth sensitivity, tissue damage, and be corrosive to membranes.
Mistakes and Misconceptions
Don’t skip a customized dental tray. Mouth guards that aren’t designed for teeth whitening and your mouth should never be used to hold and apply whitening solutions. The bleaching contents can harm your gums and throat is the tray isn’t properly designed.
Whitening toothpastes are a weaker solution compared to other whitening products. The toothpastes can only work on superficial stains (discoloration occurs on the inner dentine), and only improve by one shade lighter. That minimal whitening can only last as long as you keep up the brushing routine too. Bleaching, on the other hand, can change teeth colour by three to eight shades for several years.
More is not merrier. It’s important to use whitening products in moderation, especially if those products are bleaching. Bleachorexia, is a term for people who whiten their teeth on a weekly basis. This kind of habit will wear down your teeth's enamel which increases sensitivity and eventually make the teeth yellower. Follow the directions and listen to your doctor. This mantra will apply to natural products too. Though excessive strawberries or charcoal brushing won’t burn your gums, they will wear down protective layers on your teeth.
Whitening isn’t cleaning. Just because you’ve done you regular whitening routine, doesn’t mean your teeth are clean. It’s important to brush and floss after whitening and maintain a healthy cleaning routine.
Alternative and Natural Methods
While the dentists we spoke with explained that there’s no hard evidence for the efficacy of homeopathic methods, if you have particularly sensitive teeth, or would rather whiten your teeth without chemicals, there are some popular home remedies that may yield results. Each of the all-natural alternative methods for teeth whitening below has its own cult following, but as with any cosmetic product, results will vary.