Is Home Teeth Whitening the Best Bleaching Choice for You?

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June 11 2011

Contact Your Dentist To Determine Which Home Teeth Whitening Applications Are Safest

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While peoples’ teeth are not naturally brilliantly white, regardless of how well they are cleaned and taken care of, it has become increasingly popular to use products to achieve this look. In addition to over the counter tooth whitening products, most family dental services also provide professional teeth whitening services; sometimes as an enticement to draw in new customers.

Cosmetic dentistry has become extremely popular as increasing numbers of people are demanding a perfect smile free from flaws or yellowing. In addition to a relatively expensive dental procedure to get that look, there are many whitening products on the market, in addition to natural home remedies that people have used for decades. Due to a relative lack of consumer protection in this industry, it is essential to inform yourself about the safety and effectiveness of these alternatives before using them. If in doubt, and if you want the best, brightest results, visit your dental professional.

All teeth whitening solutions including those sold in stores and those used by a dentist use some form of bleaching agent, typically a form of peroxide, to brighten teeth. Over-the-counter products include gels, temporary strips, bleaching trays and whitening lights. The active ingredient in most of these products is hydrogen peroxide, but some use a carbamide peroxide solution which works to bleach teeth. Professionals generally agree that hydrogen peroxide is better, since it breaks down faster, doesn’t damage teeth and produces superior outcomes.

Hot Teeth Whitening Topic

All Natural Whitening Methods

Its possible you have heard about “all-natural” whitening methods such as lemon juice or baking soda. A baking soda paste can be effective when used to brush the teeth, particularly when combined with a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash.  In general, people do report good results, and baking soda has the added benefit of killing bacteria that create plaque.

Other natural solutions, such as lemon juice should never be left on the tooth surface for long periods of time. The citric acid actually eats the calcium off of your teeth, causing the enamel to wear down. Bad! A less popular whitening agent is contained in strawberries, but ironically strawberries contain acids comparable to lemons which will have a similar effect on the enamel of your teeth.

A lot of people advocate eating lots of crunchy vegetables to scrub away stains. This does work, but is a very slow process. Yet another home treatment is to brush your teeth with a lye paste mixture created from wood ash. This form of lye contains potassium peroxide which is a bleaching agent, but this too can cause discomfort and harm tooth enamel.

Over the Counter Whitening Kits

Over-the-counter whitening kits such as Crest 3D White White-strips, Listerine Whitening Quick Dissolving Strips and Aquafresh White Trays cost between $15 and $40. They call for daily application for a specified amount of time, and at best, whiten teeth only three to potentially five shades. The Go Smile Whitening System cost is higher at closer to $80 and combines a peroxide-based formula sealed in an ampoule container with a special whitening light. The light helps to boost the effect of the peroxide by breaking it down more rapidly, scrubbing away stains in the process. According to some independent research panels, the general population tends to consider the 3D White-strips from Crest to be the most effective over-the-counter option.

Dental procedures, by contrast, can cost anywhere from $300 to $800 and are seldom covered by dental insurance. While far more expensive than use-at-home procedures, they are much more effective. ZOOM, for example, is a hydrogen peroxide-based gel applied by a dentist then illuminated by a special light. The hour-long procedure is costly, but teeth are very noticeably whiter and brighter when the treatment is complete.

Having your teeth whitened by a dentist will give you longer-lasting results than if you use an OTC product. Regardless, none of these processes are permanent. Results vary according to your diet, how well and often you brush your teeth and have your teeth professionally cleaned, as well as your body chemistry, and the durability of your tooth enamel. Regardless of your care, you will need to repeat tooth whitening to keep your teeth white and bright. If you want the most dazzling smile that is highly promoted on TV, and you want it done right, your best bet is to ask your dentist about the procedures he or she offers.

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