Whitening is basically the process of making your teeth become whiter. Whitening products are classified into two major categories:

– Bleaching products
– Non-bleaching whitening products

Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes belong to the category of non-bleaching whitening agents. They can be administered by dental practitioners in a dental facility, dispensed by dental hygienists for home-use, or bought over the counter.

How they work
Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes can whiten your teeth by eliminating only surface or extrinsic stains, such as those brought about by smoking and drinking coffee.  However, they cannot change the natural tooth color or whiten deep or intrinsic stains. This is because they do not contain peroxide unlike their bleaching counterparts.

To get rid of surface or extrinsic stains, whitening toothpastes normally include:

  • Polishing agents that softly polish the teeth
  • Chemical agents that dissolve or break down stains.

If you use whitening toothpaste twice every day, your teeth may start becoming whiter as early as 2 to 6 weeks.

Due diligence
If you wish to start using whitening toothpaste, buy a brand that has a Seal of Acceptance from a trusted dental organization. For example, an ADA Seal of Approval. The seal is a testament that the whitening toothpaste is fit for human use and effective at getting rid of surface stains. If the whitening results of the toothpaste don’t meet your expectations, you can ask your dentist about alternative tooth whitening products.

Prior to buying a tooth whitening product, consult first with your dentist.  This is particularly important for patients with a lot of crowns, fillings, and very dark stains.  Dr. Zola Makrauer, Dr. Julie Miller, and the rest of our staff at Huntingdon Valley Dental Arts are always ready to listen to your questions and enlighten you.  A comprehensive dental examination may be needed to ascertain the right course of treatment for your stained teeth.