Many foods and beverages we all enjoy can stain our teeth, such as coffee, red wine, and spaghetti sauce. As a result, most of us want to be able to whiten our teeth and gain a whiter, brighter smile. One of the easiest whitening methods is to use a teeth whitening toothpaste. It seems simple enough, right? Just replace your regular toothpaste with a teeth whitening one, and brush the stains away. However, before you get too excited about whitening your teeth with this method, there are some things everyone needs to know about whitening toothpastes.
All whitening toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients to help scrub away the stains, and over time, these can cause your teeth to lose their natural gloss and shine. In addition, these ingredients will make your teeth more and more sensitive as more enamel is brushed away. If you already have sensitive teeth, your sensitivity will worsen greatly. Some patients have even reported that merely sucking in their breath inflicts sensitivity to pain. If you’ve ever experienced such pain, you know how quickly it can bring you to your knees.
Since it takes at least six months for the toothpaste to show any results, you have to use it over an extended period of time. Therefore, by using it just until your teeth are as white as you want still puts your teeth at risk.
There are some things you can do to minimize your risk with whitening toothpaste. First, always use a soft-bristled brush when using the whitening toothpaste. Do not use the whitener every day; instead, switch it out every other day with a non-whitening toothpaste. When using the whitener, brush your teeth and gums with tap water only. Floss, and then brush a second time with the whitening toothpaste. When done, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
If you already have sensitive teeth, avoid using whitening toothpastes completely, even if the paste claims it’s for sensitive teeth. It’s just as damaging as the others, and it actually cancels out the desensitizing effects it is supposed to offer.
The best method is to avoid whitening your teeth yourself completely. Brush regularly with a non-whitening paste, avoid smoking, and cut down on the amount of coffee and red wine consumption. As always, be sure to talk to your dentist about the best home whitening plan and dental health plan for you before using any whitening treatment.