Teeth whitening has flourished in popularity in recent years, and there is now an expectation for many people that the definition of a ‘good smile’ is synonymous with not just straight, evenly sized teeth, but also perfectly white teeth too.
Gone are the days when stains left from substances such as red wine, coffee and tobacco were seen as ‘just one of those things’ – nowadays there are a plethora of solutions that consumers can use (either professionally or within their own home) to remove staining from teeth.
But just how safe are these products? Can they risk damaging your teeth?
The first thing to note, is that teeth whitening is not a permanent fix – the effects will wear off over time and the speed in which this happens is largely affected by whether or not you consume things that could stain your teeth again.
We have heard teeth whitening likened to the effect of bleaching a tea or coffee cup to remove the tannin staining. No doubt most of us have been told that if we bleach our cups it is making them more susceptible to future staining, therefore we’re making a rod for our own backs – i.e. the more we bleach our cups the faster they will stain again in the future. The cynics amongst us suggest the same is true for if we whiten our teeth, but is there any truth in this?
This very much depends on the type of whitening product you choose to use. A recent investigation into teeth whitening found that “products using 10% carbamide peroxide showed no effect on the hardness or mineral content of a tooth’s enamel surface”.
DIY teeth whitening can be riskier
If you’re in any doubt, then it is best to leave teeth whitening to the experts. At CK Dental in Bristol, we will only use products that have been stringently tested and are passed as suitable for purpose. Products that can be purchased over the counter vary enormously, and are administered by hand, which always carries an enhanced risk factor (what if you get distracted part way through or don’t read the instructions correctly).
Products that are available to purchase over the internet are even more risky, as many sites are not regulated at all, so you have so real way of knowing what you are purchasing or the strength of the active ingredients.