Many patients I see in the dental chair ask the question ‘How does whitening toothpastes work and how effective is it?’
Teeth whitening pastes help to remove surface staining on the teeth. They do this by means of gentle abrasives and/or chemicals that dissolve the tooth stains. Typically the abrasive ingredient is silica, which scrubs the enamel surface. This can be very effective for patients whose tooth staining is caused by the regular drinking of coffee and/or red wine or by habitual smoking.
Important things to note about whitening toothpastes:
- From the day you start using a whitening toothpaste, results can take up to several weeks to appear.
- The whitening effect is purely superficial and does not change the colour of the teeth themselves.
- Using this whitening method over a prolonged period can damage the outer layer of the tooth enamel.
- Make sure you follow the recommendations of the manufacturer or your dental professional when using any of these pastes.
- The same habits that have caused the staining, if not stopped, will continue to stain your teeth and may affect the desired outcome.
If you are unhappy with the results you’ve been able to achieve by using a teeth whitening paste, feel free to discuss this with your dentist or dental hygienist. They will be able to suggest options for achieving your desired result.