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How do Whitening Toothpastes Work, and How Effective are They?

June 30, 2016
Posted By: Dr. Thomas Riley, DMD
Toothbrush and Toothpaste | Azalea Dental

When you go shopping you probably encounter a myriad of options for removing dental discoloration, such as over-the-counter strips or whitening toothpastes. There is no shortage of possible solutions to teeth stains. Whitening toothpastes are an especially popular option people often turn to brighten teeth. However, do whitening toothpastes work? Can you really achieve a brighter smile by using them?

 How Do Whitening Toothpastes Work?

Toothpaste that brightens your teeth does so due to special ingredients. For example, many contain an abrasive material that gently buffs away surface stains. Others contain Hydrogen peroxide or other chemicals designed to break down discoloration. A few contain a chemical known as blue coveraine, which can help mask teeth stains. On average, they can take several days to weeks for the effects to be noticed.

 Should I Use Them?

If you have minor surface stains then a cosmetic toothpaste may be an effective way to address teeth stains. However, if you have serious discoloration or stains that have formed below your tooth structure then you may benefit from a professional cosmetic solution to teeth stains, such in-office or at-home teeth whitening treatments, or even porcelain veneers. We can examine your teeth to pinpoint the cause of your discoloration and assess the severity, helping you come up with a treatment plan to brighten your teeth.

 What Causes Teeth Stains?

Why do we develop discoloration in the first place? A variety of factors can lead to yellow or brown stains. Consuming foods or drinks with a high sugar content or staining agents (Such as soda, tea, or coffee) can often cause surface stains, also known extrinsic stains. Smoking and age can also cause surface stains. Discoloration that appears below the surface, also known as intrinsic stains, can occur as a result of trauma to the teeth, the use of certain medications (such as tetracycline), or fluorosis. These rarely respond to traditional teeth whitening and may be best addressed with the placement of veneers.

 Schedule a Visit with Your Summerville Dentist

If you would like more information on the prevention or removal of dental discoloration, schedule a consultation to speak with Dr. Thomas Riley. We can answer your questions and discuss possible teeth whitening solutions, from home-based or in-office procedures to restorations, such as porcelain veneers. Please contact us by calling (843) 261-2263 today! We look forward to hearing from you.

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