A recent advert for a ‘teeth whitening pen’ caught our attention, so here at CK Dental we have been investigating what this is. Is it something that people can really benefit from or it is simply a fad and something that is more of a gimmick than a good innovation? Let’s investigate….

Apparently the whitening pen is to be used as part of your daily brushing routine, and within three weeks your teeth can expect to be three shades whiter. The pen claims to contain a whitening gel that begins working straight away to lighten the appearance of your teeth: “Apply the whitening pen directly to teeth. No waiting, no rinsing. Its stay on formula deeply whitens your teeth.”

Is the tooth whitening pen safe for my mouth?

According to the manufacturers, this pen is completely safe and is very unlikely to cause any discomfort in your mouth. They say that if you have particularly delicate gums then you may experience some slightly tingling and a slight sensitivity, but this should pass quickly. If you apply the whitening pen to your teeth and this does cause pain or discomfort then stop using this straight away and if the pain does not subside, seek a dentist’s opinion quickly.

So does it really work?

Interestingly, consumer feedback seems to be positive, with feedback sites suggesting that then pen is indeed true to its word: “After using for 7 days I have noticed remarkable results and am very happy with the purchase. Will definitely recommend”. However, at CK Dental we provide an at-home teeth whitening system using trays that are worn at night. Our chief concern with the teeth whitening pens are that they just won’t be effective rather than dangerous.

These over-the-counter products typically contain a much lower percentage of  hydrogen peroxide than the tray system that dentists can provide. A tray will also keep the bleaching agent in contact with the surface of the teeth and away from saliva that can wash it away.

It is also important to remember is that even though inventions such as this may indeed be able to increase the whiteness of our teeth, this is no substitute for regular check-ups with your dentist and a good dental hygiene routine. If you’re brushing twice a day for at least two minute per brush then this will ensure that your teeth and gums are kept as safe as possible from harmful bacteria and plaque that can build up if overall dental hygiene is poor.

Whitening products can indeed help with the shade of your teeth, but there are also other ways to try and keep teeth whiter. These include reducing intake of liquids that can stain your teeth (such as red wine, tea and coffee) and stopping smoking, as nicotine will also cause discolouration.

vaping and gum diseaseLast month, the new Tobacco Products Directive came into power, including its strict new laws on e-cigarettes. Health campaigners welcomed this new legislation, due to concerns over the unknown, long-term side effects of vaping.

Although a report published last month by the charity Action on Smoking and Health suggested that half of all British vapers have now given up smoking cigarettes, there are still some worries about vaping. Not all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, most do and nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Also vapers tend to smoke more than somebody that smokes cigarettes so are inhaling more nicotine overall.

Vaping and your teeth

Smoking cigarettes cause a range of oral health problems including plaque and tartar build-up, inflammation and mouth cancer, and although these are mainly linked to the chemicals found in cigarettes rather than nicotine, but that isn’t to say that nicotine is free of harm.

Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor which means it constricts your blood vessels, meaning there is less oxygenated blood reaching the tissues of the mouth. As a result, it can lead to gum recession, gingivitis and periodontitis, commonly known as gum disease. It can also mask the signs of gum disease which makes it even more dangerous; typically, there is increased blood flow to the gums when you’re suffering from periodontitis and one of the first signs is inflammed gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, but this is less likely to occur if you have a nicotine habit.

Nicotine is also a stimulant so if you have a tendency to grind your teeth then you may find your more likely to start grinding them more intensely. And, last but not least, nicotine limits your ability to produce saliva, one of the chief causes of bad breath!

Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving oral health in the UK, was one of the many health campaigners that praised these stricter regulations. “One of the biggest areas of concerns e-cigarettes remained that the industry operated without regulation. Given the sustained and rapid growth of the number of people switching to e-cigarettes, regulation was an absolute necessity and we’re delighted to see it finally being brought into force.”


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Email: info@ckdental.co.uk

Telephone: 0117 9059 866

CK Dental | Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital – The Chesterfield, 3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN