Visit any supermarket and the shelves are filled with teeth whitening products. The number and variation of these have increased dramatically in the last few years, from gels and abrasives to strips and laser assisted home bleaching.
For those who want to get rid of stains and have nice pearly white teeth, the range of whitening products can often be overwhelming. But do they do any good?
What discolours teeth?
Your tooth is comprised of several different layers that can discolour over time. Many things we eat and drink can cause changes because the outer enamel is porous. The main culprits are tea, coffee, red wine and cigarettes and, over time, they can cause our teeth to look yellow and unsightly.
The inner part of our teeth is made of dentin and this can also yellow naturally over time. This is a part of ageing but can also be caused by the use of certain medications and over exposure to fluoride.
Whitening toothpastes are designed to work on the surface of the tooth, that outer enamel layer. They don’t have any effect on decreasing the yellowing of the inner dentin layer and can often make that cause of discolouring more noticeable.
How whitening toothpastes work
Like all other toothpastes, those designed to whiten our teeth contain mild abrasives which are formulated to remove surface stains. They will also contain certain polishing agents and special chemicals that fight stains and make your teeth colouring lighter. They don’t, however, work to bleach your teeth, which is a more effective way to produce brighter teeth and a nicer smile.
The other problem with whitening toothpastes is that, while they may well be good at removing stains, they can often damage the tooth enamel over time, especially if they are used for an extended period. Unfortunately, there is no toothpaste or whitening product that has been found to reduce the discolouration of your inner tooth layer.
Professional whitening products
It’s a fact of life that our teeth yellow over time, and if you want to do something about those stains, it helps to talk to a dentist who will be able to go through all the options available today. If you want your teeth to look their best, getting all the information you need is the first step in having a brighter, more confident smile.
At the Alkali Dental Studios in Putney, London, you can discover safe and less abrasive ways to brighten your smile and remove those stains, such as bleaching home kits like Zoom and KOR Professional systems. Our dental experts are on hand to give you all the advice you need and you can see our whitening menu here.