Your teeth are the only part of your skeleton that’s visible — and that’s why they’re bone white. But, beauty standards make us think they should be even whiter, and thousands of products claim they hold the 🔑 to a brighter smile. Toothpaste seems like the easy solution, with some tubes even claiming a “professional whitening” by simply brushing your teeth with the magical substance inside. Not to be so gloom, but those claims for a brighter future…. might not be so accurate or good for your teeth.
The main point of toothpaste is to help clean your teeth with ingredients that strengthen your enamel (the outer layer of your teeth), but many toothpastes claim another effect: Brighter. Whiter. Faster. Stronger.
There are two types of whitening ingredients:
Abrasives: These ingredients attempt to polish your teeth by just scratching the surface (your enamel), hopefully without actually scratching or damaging that critical, protective layer of your teeth.
Chemicals: Applying chemicals (basically bleaching) attempt to break down stains through their chemical interactions.
Many whitening toothpastes are abrasive
Actually, most toothpastes have abrasives to help clean your teeth. These ingredients include calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels and hydrated aluminium oxides. But, there’s a key metric, Relative Dental Abrasivity (we know… sounds very exciting) that measures the abrasiveness of tooth products. The higher the RDA, the more abrasive on your teeth and therefore potentially damaging to your teeth — and many whitening toothpastes have a higher RDA.
Chemical-Method toothpastes should work in theory. But They Won’t
While applying the right amount of chemicals to your teeth in the proper fashion can provide a whitening effect without damage, toothpastes using chemical ingredients don’t quite cut (or whiten) it. Brushing your teeth for two full minutes every day is plenty to keep a clean and healthy mouth, but it’s just not enough for the chemicals to work their chemically magic to show a real difference. Chemical methods can work when administered properly, through dental professional treatments, but improper use can weaken your enamel, making your teeth less strong and causing sensitivity.
What really works?
While dentists recommend other techniques to get that good sparkly smile, the best way to keep your teeth looking good is by keeping them healthy. If you’re brushing properly every day, changing your brush on time, flossing and visiting the dentist every 6 months, that’s the natural, healthy look of your teeth. *Cue the cheesy music.* Just because they might not be pearly white like a movie star smile, doesn’t mean you should risk damaging the enamel you’ve worked hard to keep healthy for a slightly brighter color. But, if you do want to opt for whitening, chemical treatments administered by dental professionals are the best option for your teeth.