What are Teeth Whitening Products

For most people, physical appearances are important and having a bright, healthy looking smile factors into that. As such, removing tooth discoloration or staining has become one of the primary aesthetic concerns many face. Fortunately, the professional whitening treatments and at-home products currently available are effective, easy to use, and can noticeably improve the smile. This article will focus on common causes of tooth discoloration and some of the most popular methods for whitening teeth.

What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

Tooth discoloration can be either intrinsic or extrinsic in nature. Intrinsic discoloration refers to staining that affects the inner layer of a tooth (the dentin). Because the stain lies underneath the tooth enamel, intrinsic discoloration does not respond to most whitening treatments and will require more extensive dental procedures to remedy.

Extrinsic discoloration refers to staining that occurs on the surface layer of the teeth and fortunately, whitening products can help remove them. Some of the common causes of extrinsic discoloration include:
* Smoking
* Red wine
* Tea or coffee
* Dark colas or sodas
* Dark fruits or vegetables (such as blueberries or beets)

Most Popular Teeth Whitening Options

 Whitening Rinses and Toothpaste: There are numerous whitening mouth rinses and toothpastes available that can easily be substituted into an oral hygiene regimen. Most whitening toothpastes rely on mild abrasives to gently scrub away surface stains on the teeth whereas whitening mouth rinses utilize hydrogen peroxide or other bleaching ingredients.

Whitening Strips: Another convenient at-home option that involves placing small plastic strips containing peroxide directly over the teeth. Typically, the strips are worn for 30 minutes every day for one to two weeks to see results.

Teeth Whitening Trays: These mouthguard-like trays contain bleaching solutions and can be bought over-the-counter or custom-made by a dentist. Trays that are professionally made, will be built from an impression the dentist takes of the patient’s teeth and employ higher concentrations of peroxide. Like whitening strips, whitening trays are typically worn daily for up to two weeks for optimal results.

Chewing Gum: Chewing sugar-free whitening gum can help whiten teeth in several ways. First, chewing gum following meals helps stimulate saliva production needed to flush away food and bacteria. Second, the whitening ingredients in the gum help coat the teeth to avoid future staining. Finally, chewing whitening gum after meals can help maintain results of other whitening procedures that may have been performed.

Professional In-Office Teeth Whitening Treatment: Although they are often the most expensive option, professional whitening treatments done in the dentist’s office generally produce the best results. During treatment, the dentist places protective coatings on the lips and gum tissue to shield them from the harsh ingredients in the whitening agent. Then, the bleaching gel is applied to the teeth and a high-intensity light may be used to activate the treatment. In-office treatments generally contain much higher concentrations of bleaching agents compared to products available over-the-counter and as such, product superior results.

Patients should note that no whitening treatment is permanent and as such, periodic touchups may be needed to maintain results. To prolong the results of any whitening treatment, it is vital to maintain a sound flossing and brushing regimen. And before beginning any whitening treatment, it is wise to consult a dentist to ensure the safest treatment is selected.


Can You Whiten Teeth at Home