Many different products claim to whiten your teeth with little or no effort. How effective are they in whitening your teeth and are they money well spent? Unfortunately, no! See some of the products on the market and discover why coming to the Dentist for whitenings is still your best bet!

Whitening Pens

Whitening pens contain a peroxide solution that is applied to your teeth to whiten or maintain your current level of whiteness. Two important things to remember are the concentration of the peroxide solution and how long it remains in contact with your teeth. Without something to hold the solution in place (i.e. a tray), your saliva will quickly dilute the solution and wash it away thus defeating the purpose. Don’t waste your money on whitening pens as the success level is low.

Whitening Lights

Ads for whitening lights claim to significantly whiten your teeth in just 20 minutes a day. They claim whitening results without chemicals, sensitivity, or discomfort. Sounds too good to be true, and unfortunately, it is.

Most of the products look very similar. It is literally a battery attached to a small LED light. LED lights don’t have any special properties that can whiten teeth. The only thing today that is proven to whiten your teeth are various peroxide solutions applied to teeth with strips or trays.

Some products will package whitening gels with these lights. There is no evidence that a bright LED does anything to increase the effectiveness of these gels. This is only a marketing gimmick which is a waste of money.

Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes work by abrasion (think sandpaper). They remove surface stains on your teeth but can’t penetrate deeply into the tooth. Though whitening toothpaste temporarily removes surface stains, you also run the risk of causing damage to your teeth as the abrasive action can wear down the tooth enamel over time and expose the root. In general, minimal whitening is achieved.

Whitening Mouth Rinses

Whitening mouth rinses claim a “whiter smile in 5 days”. Most do contain hydrogen peroxide as one of the ingredients. However, as mentioned above, the concentration of the peroxide solution and the time on the teeth will determine the overall whitening effect. Most people can’t rinse for more than about two minutes at a time. Even with a high concentration of peroxide you need at least 20-30 minutes of tooth contact to get noticeable results.

Whitening Chewing Gum Products

If you’re going to chew gum, you might as well whiten your teeth while you’re at it, right? Wrong. Chewing gum with whitening attributes are really just a marketing ploy. You’re not going to see much of a whitening benefit from these chewing gum products. They may remove some superficial food from the teeth, but overall, you’re going to see a very minimal effect.

Electric Toothbrushes with Whitening Feature

Some electric toothbrushes on the market claim to have a whitening mode that will remove stains for whiter teeth. As with some of the other methods that claim to remove stains for a whiter smile, electric toothbrushes tend to produce a minimal whitening effect. If teeth are significantly darker due to surface stains, it’s probably best to seek a professional polishing at the dentist for removal.

What About Those Before and After Photos?

Don’t believe everything you see. Those before and after photographs of whiter smiles are the results of Photoshop or professional bleaching products. The results shown aren’t a result of the products that are being sold.

So, What Does Work?

Professional treatments work the best. There are some counter whitening trays and white strips that show some incremental improvements. Research these options to find out what might work best for you.

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About Tri-State Family Dentistry

Tri-State Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing the highest quality dental care possible. Being privately owned since 2009, we don’t experience the corporate pressure that other dental practices have to hit certain revenue numbers. You will never be ‘sold’ dentistry at Tri-State Family Dentistry. After we explain your treatment options, you can make your own decisions.