Our Delta BC dentists are often asked if whitening toothpastes actually work. Here’s the verdict, and one alternative you may wish to consider.
Browse the aisles of your local pharmacy and you’ll likely see a wide selection of “teeth whitening” toothpastes on the shelves, their packages offering promises to whiten your teeth. But will you actually see the results you’re looking for?
Do teeth whitening toothpastes work?
No toothpaste can truly whiten teeth. What toothpastes actually do is remove stains from the surface of your tooth.
Brushing your teeth properly with a tartar control toothpaste will go a long way to preventing plaque and tartar buildup, which causes teeth to become discoloured. The presence of tartar is also a sign that decay is happening. Once tartar has formed, only your dentist or hygienist will be able to scrape it away with special tools.
What ingredients should I look for in my toothpaste?
Fluoride is an important ingredient in toothpaste, as it gets absorbed into the tooth and decreases the rate of demineralization. Sodium pyrophosphate in tartar control toothpaste can prevent tartar from building up, while the antibacterial tricolosan may also be valuable.
Have sensitive teeth? Look for potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, which block the nerve signals that cause pain.
Another Option: At-Home Teeth Whitening
Looking for an alternative to the teeth whitening toothpastes you’ll find in stores? Scott 72 Dental centre offers an at-home teeth whitening system you may want to consider.
If you choose this option, you’ll need to come to our office for two appointments so you can get set up with the material’s you’ll require. Molds (impressions) of your teeth will be made at the first appointment, then used to fabricate your clear, custom plastic whitening trays.
At the second appointment, you’ll try on your new trays to ensure they fit correctly. At that point, any required adjustments will be made before you receive the whitening solution, along with instructions about how to use it.
At home, you’ll wear your teeth whitening trays twice a day for 30 minutes for a two-week period (or longer, depending on your desired level of whitening and the degree of staining on your teeth). Any tooth sensitivity should dissipate after you’ve stopped bleaching.
Keep in mind that teeth whitening is temporary, and you may need touch-ups every few years - more often if you regularly drink wine, coffee or tea, or if you smoke.