Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dental procedure, which as the name suggests removes stains and discoloration from teeth. Teeth staining is more common than you might think–diet, smoking, damage, and environmental conditions can all discolor teeth. The goal of tooth whitening is to remove those stains and restore or improve your teeth’s natural shine and brightness. So that leads us to our central question: does teeth whitening work?

The answer depends on the teeth whitening method used, so let’s take a look at some common means of teeth whitening and see how they stack up!

Charcoal Teeth Whitening

Charcoal Teeth Whitening is in Vogue these days, with a great many social media posts dedicated to the subject. On first examination, it seems plausible: charcoal is absorptive and could conceivably help “soak up” and remove stains and discolorations from teeth. Charcoal teeth whitening has the additional advantage of being relatively accessible and affordable, as dietary charcoal and charcoal toothpaste is found in many specialty groceries and health food stores. So it all sounds great, but there’s one drawback–there’s very little scientific evidence supporting charcoal teeth whitening. A report from the Journal of the American Dental Associate concludes much more research is needed as to the efficacy of this form of teeth whitening, so let the buyer beware. 

Whitening Toothpaste

In a similar vein, Whitening Toothpaste is even more popular and accessible than charcoal teeth whitening methods. Whitening toothpaste is available in most supermarkets and drugstores and has proven consistently popular among regular folks interested in a brighter smile. Whitening toothpaste works using a combination of two methods: special abrasives that scrub stains away and peroxide like substances that remove them chemically. But do they work? Well, to a degree yes–some are even approved by the ADA. However, they’re most effective at maintenance and mild staining, and may not address stronger or darker stains. And due to their abrasive nature, they must be used according to the manufacturer’s directions in order to avoid enamel erosion. 

Cosmetic Teeth Whitening

This leads us to Cosmetic Teeth Whitening, as performed by a dentist or other oral health professional in-office. There are a number of methods they might employ, including chemical bleaching, light-activated whitening, and whitening mouthpieces to be worn at home. Chemical bleaching is the more common of them all, and does just what it sounds like: your dentist or oral hygienist uses a bleaching chemical, generally a 10% to 22% concentration of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. This can greatly improve the brightness of your teeth and smile–anywhere from five to seven shades brighter! Costs vary, but it’s generally a fairly simple and speedy procedure with minimal discomfort to the patient.  It’s simple and effective and is likely the best choice for most patients. 

So out of all of these choices, which is best for you? The truth is you and your teeth are unique and you’re best consulting with your dentist. They can perform an exam and recommend the best option for your situation. It’s also important to note while whitening can improve both your smile and your self-confidence, it’s not a substitute for a regular brushing and flossing regime combined with dental exams and cleanings. So get in touch today and let the professionals at Burgiss DDS guide you to the next level of your oral health!