During your weekly grocery shopping, you might be intrigued by the dozens of different kinds of toothpaste to choose from. Many of them offer additional benefits that their basic counterparts may not. One of these benefits includes teeth-whitening, proudly displayed on the front of the box, usually in the bottom-right corner.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to get teeth-whitening done at your dentist office when there’s an option to do so in your own home, keep reading. You’d be surprised to hear the comparison.
What Do Teeth-Whitening Toothpastes Promise?
Whitening toothpastes are meant to scrub away discoloration commonly caused by day-to-day stains. These are usually left by soda, coffee, or wine and with regular use, this toothpaste will make your teeth whiter and remove these stains. However, the catch these products don’t mention is the length of time needed for your teeth to appear whiter. It can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks of regular use before results start to show.
Those looking for an immediate appearance of whiter teeth will want to look for products containing blue covarine. This chemical is designed to diminish the yellow appearance on the surface of your teeth and shows results right away. However, since the effects are not as long-lasting, you’ll want to combine it with other methods of teeth-whitening to get a more permanently white smile.
What’s Inside Teeth-Whitening Toothpastes?
The way that teeth-whitening products achieve their long-term effects is through abrasives and bleaching agents included in the paste. Below is a list of active ingredients commonly found in these products:
- Hydrated aluminum oxide (abrasive)
- Calcium carbonate (abrasive)
- Magnesium carbonate (abrasive)
- Carbamide peroxide (bleaching agent)
- Hydrogen peroxide (bleaching agent)
It’s through these combinations of chemicals and abrasives that these products work to break down stains on your teeth. When searching for good toothpaste, look for the ADA Seal, as this proves the company volunteered to show the American Dental Association its commitment to safety and reliability.
However, any toothpaste with abrasives carries the additional risk of wearing down your enamel, causing irritation of the gums, and causing tooth sensitivity, so keep that in mind f you decide to opt for it. Of course, with professional treatments, that risk is lower.
How Do They Compare to Professional Treatments?
Professional treatments always have higher concentrations of professional-grade whitening agents, so over-the-counter products are not going to stack up in comparison. In fact, professional grade agents can have a 25 and 40 percent concentration of hydrogen peroxide in them, while over-the-counter bleaching kits may only have around 10 percent.
Furthermore, professional treatments are better equipped to provide whiter teeth, in less time, and without the side effects toothpastes might carry. In-office whitening treatments that contain a high fluoride uptake in their pH-balanced concentration means your teeth won’t become sensitive after treatment.
Consider a better long-term teeth-whitening solution with professional treatments from your local dentist today!
About the Author
Dr. Emily Hortman, DMD, earned her bachelor’s degree in biology as well as her Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of South Carolina. She went on to complete her postdoctoral residency at the Medical University of South Carolina and earned her certificate in Advanced Education in General Dentistry. To learn more about her practice, contact her at (843) 399-2525 or visit her website.