There has been a recent surge in the popularity and availability of at-home teeth whitening products.
There is little information provided about these products and consumers often have limited knowledge about what they are receiving. The only endorsements available come from Instagram stars and celebrity endorsements; no scientific or medical recommendations can be sourced. With all of these ‘miracle products’ available, what is safe to use, what is effective, and should you use at-home treatments at all?
Firstly, consumers need to understand the reason behind yellowing or discolouration of teeth.
There are three main factors that can influence the colour of your teeth
- External factors – substances that can ‘dye’ your teeth such as coffee, tea, wine, smoking, etc.
- Biological factors – taking high does of antibiotics or excessive exposure to fluoride during tooth formation, etc.
- Age factors – over time the tooth’s natural layer of enamel will begin to thin, showing the dentin beneath which appears yellow.
Teeth whitening procedures require the use of hydrogen peroxide to ‘bleach’ the tooth’s surface. Due to legislation, over the counter products can only offer a significantly lower percentage of peroxide than procedures offered by a licensed dentist. This is important and necessary regulation as peroxide can cause chemical burns to the gums if used incorrectly. Dentists create patient-specific moulds that contain the peroxide and ensure that there is limited interaction with the gums, if any at all.
Additionally, your dentist will be able to determine the cause of your discolouration and whether these procedures will cause any unnecessary damage.
Beware products that claim to contain ‘no peroxide’. While this may be technically true while the product is contained in its original packaging but will release hydrogen peroxide when used or ‘activated’. Products that contain no peroxide or hydrogen peroxide are highly unlikely to whiten teeth.
Other popular products feature activated charcoal as a ‘natural whitening method’. There has been absolutely no scientific evidence that the use of activated charcoal will whiten teeth. Furthermore, if you do decide to used at-home activated charcoal teeth whitening products, they should be approached with care as these pastes and powders are more likely to damage enamel than whiten it. These products are abrasive and can damage pre-weakened enamel. The same is true for whitening toothpastes.
If you are interested in using any at-home teeth whitening kits, you should consult your dentist prior to commencing any treatment. The friendly team at Greenslopes Dental are able to assist you with these protective measures. Alternatively, Greenslopes Dental offer safe and effective teeth whitening services at our clinic. Contact our team to learn more.