Teeth whitening pens – gimmick or great idea?

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.