A Hollywood-worthy smile simply by switching your toothpaste?
These days it seems everyone has a dazzling white smile and perfect teeth. And with whitening products readily available on most supermarket shelves – all promising professional results and a whiter-than-white smile – it’s no surprise so many of us are clamouring to the toothpaste aisle in search of a quick fix.
But is whitening toothpaste too good to be true or a smart solution? Here the team at the Harley Street Smile Clinic take a closer look.
Understanding teeth stains
Think a stain is just a stain? Think again.
When it comes to teeth, there are actually several types of staining…
- Extrinsic stains – these are stains on the surface of the tooth, usually caused by a plaque build-up, diet and bad habits (think red wine, coffee and smoking).
- Intrinsic stains – trickier to tackle, intrinsic stains form underneath the surface of the tooth. They occur when stain-causing particles get trapped within the tooth enamel making them harder to shift.
- Age-related stains – many people suffer from age-related staining and not just from years of drinking tea and coffee! The core tissue of teeth (dentine) naturally yellows as we grow older, made worse by the fact tooth enamel thins with age and makes the dentine more visible.
What’s in whitening toothpaste?
All varieties of toothpaste are designed to clean and protect teeth and should ideally contain fluoride, as this can help to prevent tooth decay and cavities. But toothpaste branded as ‘whitening’ goes a step further, including ingredients to actively target staining and brighten smiles.
If you’re looking to tackle surface stains, search for a toothpaste containing silica. This is an abrasive ingredient, which helps to remove stubborn extrinsic stains by scrubbing the surface of the tooth.
For intrinsic discolouration, you need to check labels for hydrogen peroxide. This not only tackles stains but helps to whiten the teeth by gently bleaching them.
Is whitening toothpaste bad for teeth?
Opt for a reputable brand of whitening toothpaste and, in theory, you can simply – and safely – whiten as you clean.
But it’s important to be cautious.
In order for whitening toothpastes to be effective, they contain chemical agents and abrasives, so with prolonged use it’s possible that they can begin to wear away tooth enamel. Take care to follow the instructions for use closely.
Are whitening toothpastes worth the money?
If you want instant, visible results then paying the extra for a whitening toothpaste over your regular run-of-the-mill tube probably isn’t worth it.
Whilst using a quality whitening toothpaste as part of your daily oral healthcare routine can certainly help to shift stains, it can take several weeks before you begin to see any real difference. Even then, changes may only be very slight and for the best results you’ll need to make a few lifestyle changes too – such as reducing your caffeine intake, brushing after eating and remembering to floss.
Want brighter results?
If you’re impatient for a whiter smile, or think your teeth need more of a helping hand to achieve the level of whiteness you’re hoping for, why not seek professional help?
Whether you suffer from fluorosis, have a weakness for red wine, or are simply unhappy with the natural shade of your teeth, we have a range of treatments to help. With professional whitening available as part of our mini-smile makeovers and a range of cosmetic dental procedures designed to transform your smile – you can achieve whiter, more dazzling teeth, sooner than you think.
Talk to the team today and take your first step to a brighter future.