Are Whitening Toothpastes Just Hype?
- Posted on: Feb 15 2019
Shelf space is the thing when it comes to a trip to Publix these days. Where there formerly was one type of Fig Newtons, now there are like six. There once was a single Special K cereal; now you could get lost in their variety.
The same for toothpastes. It used to be simply toothpaste, pretty much Crest or Colgate. Then it was paste or gel. Then it was tartar control. Then it was breath freshening (isn’t that what tooth brushing does inherently?). Then there was baking soda toothpaste. Then came whitening toothpaste. Whoa. If you have trouble making decisions, the toothpaste section just became a difficult place for you.
About those whitening toothpastes — do they actually whiten your teeth?
Whitening toothpastes focus on surface stains on your teeth, such as those caused by drinking coffee or red wine. These stains are on the outermost surface of your tooth enamel. Whitening toothpastes can break down these stains, although not with instantly dramatic results.
Unlike teeth whitening options, whitening toothpastes do not contain peroxide. This is the ingredient that gives teeth whitening programs their real power to whiten teeth. Instead, whitening toothpastes use special abrasives that gently polish the teeth, along with other chemicals that help break down stains.
There is a fine line here — too much abrasion and the tooth enamel can be worn down. That’s why whitening toothpastes can only go so far. Without peroxide, they must remove stains by gently scrubbing off the stains.
Some whitening toothpastes contain the chemical blue covarine. This adheres to the surface of the teeth and creates an optical illusion that can make teeth appear less yellow. Drs. Brown and Vaughn don’t recommend these types of whitening toothpastes.
Instead, we believe you can get moderate whitening with a whitening toothpaste that simply attacks stains. Be sure to look for approval by the American Dental Association, however.
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