As a dental hygienist, I am here to tell you to stop wasting your precious hard earned dollars on toothpastes that claim to ”whiten” your teeth. You see, I’m going to let you in on a little dental secret that toothpaste companies are going to hate me for…
There is no active whitening product in your ‘whitening’ toothpaste to brighten your pearly whites. Nadda. Ziltch. Nothing.
It’s all clever marketing by the big brands to get you to buy their products because, and this is a fact, every, single toothpaste currently available to purchase can make the claim that it is a ‘whitening’ toothpaste.
The Abrasive Factor
It’s the abrasiveness of the toothpaste that ‘whitens’, not an active whitening product.
All toothpaste has some form of abrasiveness, from mild- standard Crest, to hard- Arm and Hammer, that is added to remove the daily grime and extrinsic stains from your teeth. Sort of like a super mild version of the professional polishing you receive from your hygienist.
The mechanical effort put forth by you, combined with the mild abrasiveness of the toothpaste is what whitens your teeth.
All this time your superman powers were what what causing the whitening, not the paste!
But my toothpastes lists a bleaching agent in the ingredients!
Check again my friends, if they do add an agent to the toothpaste, it will be listed in the ‘non-active’ ingredients section, get out your spectacles and check yourself. No active bleaching agent is stable enough for toothpastes.
If you want to whiten your teeth you have to apply a bleaching product for a long period of time (minimum 30 mins/day), consistently, for a number or days to get the desired effect. Applying a dab of toothpaste and promptly spitting it out after 45 seconds will not have any effect.
Your teeth will only get so white.
Some people naturally have very white teeth or teeth that accept beach very well and can lighten, not everyone is so lucky so if you’ve tried a bleaching product with little success, you can thank your parents for their genetics. Most drug store brands-for example Crest White Strips-are potent enough for the average individual. Dental office potency may be needed for bleaching hard stains such as long term smokers though.
Media has done a bang-up job on falsifying the truth, again. Most of the white teeth you see on media are the above mentioned people who accept bleach well, or they have veneers on their teeth, so stop beating yourself up.
Oh, and just to annoy dental product companies off more, stop buying their whitening mouthwash too.
Swishing and spitting after 30 seconds has zero effect.
I’m not saying mouthwash isn’t good, although most people don’t need it for it’s intended effect. If you brush properly and have little to no bacterial or ‘inflammatory gum’ issues, the therapeutic benefits of mouthwash aren’t really needed. Most people use it to ‘freshen’ their breath, which is fine. Good ‘ol Listerine is the gold standard for mouthwash (although if you are a smoker please use a non-alcohol containing one such as Crest Pro-Health. The #1 cause of oral cancer is smoking, #2 alcohol use and #3 smoking and alcohol combined.
If you do decide to whiten your teeth, please remember that the whitest part of your face should be the whites of your eyes. As humans our eyes are naturally attracted to the brightest part of someone’s face, if the teeth are brighter than the whites of their eyes it can be very distracting. We’ve all seen these people. I’m sorry if I’ve burst anyone’s bubble, just looking out for your pocketbooks!
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