Teeth Whitening: Myths and Facts
Uncomfortable with yellow teeth? Let’s bust the myths and talk about the facts. Here’s everything you need to know about teeth whitening at home vs. in a dental clinic.
Myth #1: Whitening Toothpaste Works the Same as Professional Whitening Treatment
Fact: Whitening toothpaste can only lighten your teeth up to one shade brighter.
Toothpaste contains baking soda, an abrasive and chemical remover for surface stains. Whitening toothpaste, however, includes more ingredients like special abrasives for polishing teeth, hydrogen peroxide, or blue covarine in small quantities.
Blue covarine tones down the yellow shade of the teeth like an optical illusion. It works in the same way that purple shampoo tones down yellow tones in bleached hair, or when UV light whitens the yellow soles of old white sneakers.
Since whitening toothpaste removes only surface stains, these products can only make teeth about one shade lighter. Professional in-office whitening, on the other hand, can make teeth up to eight shades lighter!
Myth #2: At-Home Products Like Lemon Juice or Coconut Oil Work for Teeth Whitening
Fact: No research has proven that lemon juice or coconut oil are effective or safe for teeth whitening.
Anecdotes say that lemon juice is just as effective for whitening teeth as professional treatments. However, unlike baking soda, which has a basic pH level of 9, lemon juice has an acidic pH level of 2. A study in 2015 concluded that lemon juice can eat away tooth enamel. This makes your teeth more prone to getting cavities and decay, making it unsafe for whitening.
Coconut oil is not unsafe for whitening, but it IS ineffective. While coconut oil has been seen to remove harmful mouth bacteria, reduce plaque, and fight gum disease, it does not have properties that can whiten teeth.
Myth #3: Whitening Rinses Are as Effective as Over-the-Counter Whitening Products
Fact: Whitening rinses take more time to work compared to whitening strips and gels.
Both whitening rinses and over-the-counter whitening strips can both be good options for teeth whitening. Whitening rinses contain hydrogen peroxide, while whitening strips contain bleaching gel.
It all comes down to how these products work to whiten your teeth. A study on whitening rinses shows that teeth whitening is slowed down due to its short period of exposure to the teeth. After all, we only gargle for 30 to 60 seconds. Results from whitening rinses can be seen after 12 weeks.
Whitening strips or gels work faster and can show results immediately after using the product. They can lighten the color of teeth by about 1 to 2 shades. Initially, you can use whitening strips or gels every two weeks. Once you’re satisfied with the shade, you can only use them once a month. Whitening strips and gels also come with risks like tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.
Myth #4: In-Office Bleaching or Professional Teeth Whitening Can Damage Your Teeth Permanently
Fact: Professional teeth whitening will not damage the layers of a tooth.
A dentist’s job is to save your teeth and restore or maintain your oral health. In-office bleaching wouldn’t be offered in a dental clinic if it harmed teeth.
The treatment utilizes heat, light, or laser energy on the bleaching product applied to the teeth. The whole process lasts for 30 to 60 minutes and provides quick results. Follow-up treatments will be performed to help you achieve and maintain the shade you desire.
Takeaway: Leave It to Your Dentist
Every person has different teeth, gums, and oral health. People with sensitive teeth, dental restorations, and filling or crowns may need a special treatment for teeth whitening.
At Valley Dental Works, our teeth whitening options include:
- Whitening Touch-Up Pens
- GLO At-Home Whitening Kit
- GLO In-Office Professional Whitening
- Cosmetic Veneer and/or Crowns
For more information on teeth whitening myths and facts, Portland patients can contact Valley Dental Works and schedule a consultation. Our dentists will recommend the best whitening treatment plan for your oral health and appearance goals.