Are you considering whitening your teeth in time for those Christmas and New Year photos?
If you have visited the toothpaste aisle at your local Boots, Tesco, Asda or Sainsbury’s you have probably noticed dozens of tooth whitening products on the shelves.
Nowadays there are many over the counter teeth whitening toothpastes and teeth whitening bleaches compared to a few years ago when the only whitening products that you could purchase from your supermarket were whitening toothpastes and Crest White strips. Despite the fact we now have more of a choice, the question remains as to whether teeth whitening strips, rinses and whitening gels really whiten our teeth?
Like ordinary mouth wash, Mouth Whitening rinses kill bacteria, freshen breath and may help remove plaque. Whitening rinses, however, contain tooth-whitening ingredients not found in conventional mouthwashes. Manufacturers advise taking a mouthful of the rinse and letting it slosh around on your teeth for one minute twice a day. Patients have said that they never notice a lightening of their teeth, however this might be due to the fact that the rinse doesn’t stay in your mouth long enough to touch the teeth.
Whitening strips are small pieces of polyethylene, with a flexible plastic that molds to the top surfaces, around the edges and into crevices between teeth. Each strip is coated with a gel treatment made from hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide that reacts with moisture in the mouth and breaks down, or oxidizes, getting into the enamel of teeth where stains settle.
Although studies of the effectiveness of whitening strips show that they do brighten and whiten smiles for most users, the bleaching agents used in these are said to be less effective than those used in dental practices and overall it works out cheaper and is safer to have your teeth professionally whitened.
Teeth Whitening Gels
The cheapest and most convenient of the teeth whitening options, over-the-counter bleaching involves the use of a whitening kit, which can be purchased online or at your chemist. This features a bleaching gel with a concentration lower than that of the professionally dispensed take-home whiteners. The gel is applied to the teeth with a whitening strip or paint-on brush. This may only whiten a few of the front teeth, unlike custom trays that can whiten the entire smile, and another problem is that the whitening gels only stick to dry teeth and when saliva gets on the teeth the gel comes off.