In recent years, Americans have become increasingly interested in whitening their teeth. White teeth are perceived as healthier, more beautiful teeth, and the whiter and brighter the teeth are, the better, television jokes about overly whitened teeth notwithstanding. The normalization of bright white teeth has led to an explosion of whitening products. There are in office and at home treatments; professional and consumer formulas; gels, strips, and whitening pastes. In the rush to achieve beautiful results, we as consumers may not be paying enough attention to the price our teeth are paying to end up a bright shade. Because, while you may know that bleaching your teeth can leave them more sensitive, you may not realize that it can also leave your enamel rougher than before you attempted to whiten them. So, if you want to whiten without risking your enamel health, read on for some tips on safety when whitening your smile.
Just the paste?
Whitening toothpastes work by using detergents to scrub away surface stains. These toothpastes tend to be much more abrasive than standard toothpastes. One study from 2018 that looked at how certain whitening toothpastes affected the enamel surface, and it found that repeated use of whitening toothpaste left the tooth surface rougher than before whitening. Another study from 2017 originally published in the American Journal of Dentistry similarly found that some commercial whitening toothpastes have the potential to cause measurable enamel wear and tear. In fact, some whitening toothpastes on the market approach or meet the top limit for abrasiveness allowed for commercial toothpaste.
So, if you are a regular coffee, tea, or red wine drinker and find that you prefer whiter teeth, you may also find that not using a whiting toothpaste every time you brush may help you keep your enamel healthier in the long run. Remineralizing tooth gel may help keep your teeth in better shape as you seek the cosmetic result you prefer. CariFree tooth cleaning gels have an RDA of 18.5, well under the FDA limit of 200.
As white as can be…
If you want significantly whiter teeth, you are likely to seek tooth bleaching, whether with at home trays or strips or with professional trays and treatments. Tooth bleaching can be more aggressive than whitening toothpaste, reaching deeper into the tooth structure than just the tooth surface. In particular, peroxide-based tooth whitening appears to leave the enamel surface rougher, softer, and potentially demineralized. Although tooth whitening may be used to make your teeth look healthier, it may leave them more susceptible to a host of dental problems.
So, if you’re pursuing tooth whitening, it’s a good idea to do so under a dentist’s care, even if you perform the actual bleaching at home. Studies have shown that using nano-hydroxyapatite during bleaching can significantly decrease sensitivity. It’s also known to help remineralize the tooth enamel surface. So, if you’re bleaching your teeth, you might also use the bleaching trays to apply a remineralizing gel, like CariFree CTx4 Gel 1100 to protect your teeth from additional roughness and mineral loss.
At the end of the day, tooth whitening is considered safe when done properly, so there is nothing wrong with seeking a whiter, brighter smile. With a little extra thought and care, you can seek that bright smile in a way that will keep your mouth healthy as possible, not just pretty looking.