Your smile is an important part of who you are, having a great set of pearly whites can give you the confidence to feel good. With many different whitening options available on the market how do you know the best way to whiten your teeth?
When whitening your teeth, you’re whitening the stained tooth enamel. The tooth enamel is the outer surface hard layer of your tooth and is said to be the hardest substance in your body, stronger than your bones. At its thickest it is 2.5mm, this is why it is so important to look after it.
We explore the best teeth whitening methods including professional whitening, home remedies, , and products such as whitening strips, kits and toothpaste products.
Professional Teeth Whitening – In office
At Mount Pleasant Dental believe in office teeth whitening with a professional dentist is the most effective way and safest way to whiten your teeth. We are proud to offer 2 types of in-office teeth whitening options, they include;
Zoom WhiteSpeed is the number one requested in-office teeth whitening in Australia. Once your dental hygienist sets up, it is a 45-minute whitening process that uses a high strength Hydrogen Peroxide gel which is activated by a Zoom LED Lamp. It whitens up to eight shades and provides up to 50% better results.
Allow an hour for this process.
Pola Office Plus is a 30-minute bleaching session uses a high strength Hydrogen Peroxide gel which is activated by a violet light lamp.
Pola Office Plus boasts that it is a low sensitivity, designed to protect your dental nerves reducing the likelihood of irritation, burning or pain. This option for those who are wanting the quick and sensitive in-office whitening. It contains potassium nitrate which acts as a desensitiser.
Allow 40 mins for this process.
Teeth Whitening at home options
Teeth whitening products range from charcoal toothpastes to whitening strips, whitening pens and lots more. Charcoal toothpastes may help remove stains on the surface however should not be used excessively as it can lead to loss of tooth enamel.
If you use whitening strips that contain chlorine dioxide, you could destroy the enamel on your teeth because Chlorine dioxide is the same acid that is used to disinfect swimming pools. It whitens teeth by eating away at the surface of the enamel.
Other teeth whitening strips contain peroxide or bleach. Thus, they work to whiten your teeth the same way bleach works to whiten your clothes or your hair.
We stock multiple different at home kits. Including, Carbamide Peroxide (used as a disinfectant and in dentistry for its teeth whitening effects) and Hydrogen Peroxide at home gels. Your Dental Hygienist can recommend a strength of gel suitable for your teeth and will show you how to apply it in your customised whitening trays. These gels have calcium phosphate and fluoride built in and a pH proven safe to enamel. This ensures no effect in the micro-hardness of enamel when used as recommended.
A whitening pen is a small dental instrument containing a bleaching gel which you apply to the tooth. You can get whiter teeth in a few days of treatment and the main benefit is the portability. Pola Luminate is a hydrogen peroxide “paint and go” product. It’s as easy as applying lip gloss, this 30 min product is safe, inexpensive and does not require customised fitted trays. Lasting up to 60 applications and can be worn during the day or night.
There are many different whitening toothpastes available for purchase these days. Most toothpaste manufacturers trademark their whitening ingredients and it is a trade secret. Whitening toothpastes claim to remove dietary stains from the surface of enamel but also have a whitening effect on the overall colour of your teeth.
Although these toothpastes are all below the recommended abrasiveness levels set by the Australian Dental Association (ADA), it is important to recognise these products as short-term use. Long term or lifetime use can affect your enamel quality.
Natural teeth whitening methods
You can read so many articles on Natural ways to whiten your teeth. Options can include fruit peels like lemon, banana or using strawberries to exfoliate your teeth as it contains malic acid that helps with discolouration. But do they actually work? Vinegar, like fruit acid is also another product people believe can aid in whitening your teeth however be aware, anything excessively used can damage your tooth enamel.
Bicarb Soda is a natural whitening agent that is used in some products, it scrubs surface stains over time. It is an excellent at home remedy for removing dietary stains resulting in a whitening effect. People with a high stain diet will benefit from twice a week dipping their toothbrush into bicarb soda and brushing if you can tolerate the taste. Bicarb soda has an RDA (Relative Dentin Abrasivity) of 7 making it a low abrasive alternative to whitening toothpastes which can have an RDA of 180-250.
Oil pulling is also a popular option which uses coconut oil to remove the bacterial toxins in your mouth that may cause stains.
Coconut Oil pulling is completely harmless and has claimed to have many oral health benefits including whitening the teeth. Oil pulling entails holding a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 20 mins with no spitting or swallowing so it can be quite cumbersome. Although these methods to whiten your teeth may be natural there are no scientific results to prove they can get your teeth dental white.
Social media marketing has caused this at home “natural” whitening option to take off. Simply brush your teeth with this black powder as directed by the manufacturer and it anecdotally claims to whiten teeth. There is no formal evidence that activated charcoal whitens teeth. Activated Charcoal has been FDA approved for many health uses but is not currently approved for any dental uses or dental products.
Concerns lie in the unregulated level of abrasiveness of the product. Additionally, Doctor Ryan Nolan MDM, a researcher, claims some of these consumer products that have been tested have been found to have unsafe levels of aluminum.
Care should also be taken with these powders as the charcoal may be hard to remove from the gum sulcus and around restorations.
The best ways to protect your enamel,
- Always use all products as directed by the manufacturer. Overuse or long-term use can have a detrimental effect on the micro-hardness and surface of the enamel
- Non-hydrogen Peroxide over the counter teeth whitening products have the potential to damage teeth. Non-hydrogen Peroxide OTC products can have very low pH levels and the acids that can whitening the extrinsic stain on enamel can also dissolve the enamel its self.
- Long term studies dating back to 1989 prove the safety of Carbamide peroxide and Hydrogen peroxide home bleaching systems. A dentist prescribed whitening treatment is often the safest way to protect your enamel when whitening your teeth.
- GC Tooth Mousse is a re-mineralising mousse with bio-available calcium, phosphate and fluoride this product strengthens enamel. This can be used pre or post whitening.
Preventative brushing and flossing as well as general oral hygiene care can make a big difference in keeping your pearly whites bright. Avoiding excess coffee, tea, sugary foods, smoking and alcohol and eating high calcium foods like cheese, milk and broccoli help protect your teeth from enamel erosion.
However, over time and with age your teeth will naturally discolour, therefore consulting a professional will guarantee the best results. Most professional dental treatments are stronger and safer than your home remedies and involve bleaching teeth which is more effective and lasts longer.