Teeth Whitening: Proceed with Caution

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

With new ideas constantly circulating about how to get the whitest teeth in town—including a recent article that offered 30 tips—Dr. Maria Tapia with Dentistry By Design dispels some of the rumors and reveals some truths.

Lights, mouthwash and toothpaste that promise whiter teeth are all myths, Tapia explained.

“There are three reasons why teeth will get whiter no matter what: concentration of the product, time of exposure and frequency of use,” Tapia said, adding that most whitening products are peroxide-based, with different modifications and concentrations.

“So in a mouth rinse, the strength of peroxide is low,” Tapia continued. “How long do you rinse your teeth? Less than 30 seconds, right?”

Tapia explained that this length of exposure and concentration are not enough to produce long-lasting results.

“Whitening toothpaste works for one reason,” Tapia said, “they have baking soda in it—an abrasive.”

So while someone using whitening toothpaste may see results, it’s actually just the toothpaste removing surface stains like coffee and tea, but they won’t change the internal color of the tooth, which gets darker as we age.

“The fact is, your tooth color will be darker than what your teeth are today,” Tapia said. “It will happen, it’s part of aging beautifully.”

Another trending whitening tool? Charcoal-based toothpastes.

“I am not sure if the teeth really get whiter,” Tapia explained, stating that she has not seen enough clinical evidence that it actually works, but that she has seen patients who have particles of charcoal that remain around the gumline.

“It looks worse than without doing anything,” she shared.

One over-the-counter product that Tapia recommended for those who are looking to whiten their teeth on a budget are strips. She explained that they work because they have a higher concentration of product, but that users should use caution when applying them to their teeth.

“It works but cut down the time,” she recommended. Instead of using the strips for the full 30 minutes, she suggested doing it for 10 minutes per day for a longer period of time to lessen sensitivity.

Dentistry By Design offers KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching—“the newest, most revolutionary and effective teeth whitening system ever developed,” according to the website. The system is reportedly so effective that it is the only system in the world that will whiten tetracycline (dark) stained teeth, previously thought to be impossible.

The process takes about 30 minutes to an hour, using a hydrogen peroxide gel that reaches deep layers of the tooth enamel.

For more information, visit palisadesdentistry.com.

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