Tooth whitening has become extremely popular over the last few years and with the number of whitening products that are available in the market, it can all be quite confusing. It is difficult to know what works and what does not. Over the next few blogs, we will cover the different whitening options that are available both over the counter and professionally.
This week we will consider whitening toothpastes. The number of whitening toothpastes that are available has increased dramatically over the last few years. Some whitening toothpastes have a peroxide component that the manufacturers may claim has a tooth whitening effect. In reality, the peroxide concentration is too low and it does not have enough time in contact with the teeth to have any real effect. The main mechanism of action of whitening toothpaste is its abrasiveness. Whitening toothpastes tend to be more abrasive and thus mechanically polish off the stains. The drawback is that they can be abrasive to the enamel as well. In combination with a hard bristled toothbrush and an aggressive brushing technique, this can lead to wearing away of the enamel. Tooth enamel once gone is gone for good!
Whitening toothpastes used once in a while to polish away surfaces stains will likely do no harm. However, I find that they are just too abrasive to be used on a regular basis and thus I would not use them myself nor would I recommend them for our patients. Any claim made as to whitening the teeth beyond removal of surface staining is unlikely, as the whitening product does not have enough time to penetrate the enamel.
If you have more questions on whitening toothpastes, please do not hesitate to ask us when you are in for your next appointment!