Safe and Effective Teeth Whitening For a Happy and Healthy Smile
Our teeth are like sponges. They absorb everything that we put into our mouths. This is why avid coffee drinkers (like myself) tend to develop stains on their teeth over time. Although this isn’t necessarily a negative thing, it can also be annoying and frustrating. Because let's be honest here… I’m not quitting coffee anytime soon, but I'd also like to maintain some pearly whites. Luckily, there are many different ways to achieve safe and effective teeth whitening for a happy and healthy smile.
- With the right, ADA-approved products, teeth whitening products are generally a safe and effective way to whiten your teeth.
- The peroxide contained in the teeth whitening products works to safely ‘bleach’ away stubborn stains.
- Creating a healthier and more sustainable diet for yourself can also have teeth whitening effects.
Is teeth whitening safe?
So let’s get into it. I’m sure you’ve heard people say that whitening your teeth can ruin the enamel and make it weak. In some cases, they’re not wrong. Cheap teeth bleaching products that contain a lot of peroxides can start to break down the tooth barrier and in return cause more cavities or a lot of tooth and gum sensitivity. But for the most part, when the products are healthy and approved, teeth whitening tends to be safe.
Scientists and researchers have done many experiments and studies to prove that the enamel covering our teeth is the strongest tissue in the human body. This means that the teeth can sustain a lot more than we think they can – like teeth whitening products. That being said (with some exceptions), teeth whitening is generally safe.
Here are some ways to make sure the products you are buying are safe:
- Look for the ADA seal of approval
- Follow the instructions on the label
- Discuss your options with your dentist
- Monitor to your teeth sensitivity
How does teeth whitening work?
Most teeth whitening products, such as whitening strips or toothpastes, contain different forms of peroxides. Peroxides such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, contain very volatile oxygen molecules. When these molecules touch the tooth’s surface, a chemical reaction forms which breaks down the chemical molecules that hold on to both the intrinsic and extrinsic stains on your teeth.
This will usually cause temporary teeth sensitivity, but long term it has shown to barely damage any part of the gum, enamel, or tooth as a whole. Adding more fluoride to your teeth hygiene can strengthen the enamel even more, perhaps resulting in less sensitivity.
Like I said before, there are many different kinds of teeth whitening products on the market for safe and effective teeth whitening. These products can come in all different forms like toothpastes, gel strips, light therapy, and so much more.
While the internet is your oyster for products like these, you need to be aware of non-verified brands and sources trying to sell you their whitening products. This is why it’s super important to consult with your dentist or check the ADA’s website before testing out any products.
Over the counter teeth whitening products approved by the American Dental Association (ADA):
- Crest 3D White Whitestrips ($45)
- Crest 3D Whitestrips Classic Vivid ($30)
- Crest 3D Whitestrips Gentle ($30)
- Burt’s Bees Whitening Toothpaste ($5)
- Tom's of Maine Simply White Clean Mint Toothpaste ($6.30)
Professional teeth whitening:
Having a professional party conduct anything is usually always the safest and most effective route. While professional teeth whitening can be a bit costly, it definitely will produce the best results. According to Forbes magazine, professional teeth whitening contains many steps just to get to the part where they conduct the actual whitening. Some of the steps involve getting a consult and tooth shade match, different stages of polishing and removing plaque, protection barrier on gums, gel application, waiting period, and light activation.
Since this process is done professionally and with certified products, this form of teeth whitening will get your teeth as white as possible – but it's not exclusive considering all the other ‘at-home’ ways to brighten those teeth.
Natural ways to brighten your teeth:
- Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste
I guarantee you can find both these things in your kitchen cabinets. Baking soda is a natural whitener due to its abrasive texture to rub off stains. Hydrogen peroxide, on the other hand, is a natural bleaching agent. Mixing one tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide will form an easy DIY whitening paste. Apply it every day and you should see results after a few uses.
Just make sure that you are listening to your teeth, and if it starts to hurt, immediately stop applying the paste.
- Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet
This may not be your quickest fix to bright and white teeth, but in the long run, it will produce lasting results and healthier teeth. Implementing more fruits into your diet, specifically citrus fruits, can help to naturally whiten your teeth because of their natural acidity. Also, consuming raw and hard fruits and veggies can help rub plaque away from your teeth, thus making them whiter.
- Limit your sugar intake
One thing people don’t realize when it comes to fixing external features such as skin, hair, nails, and even teeth, is that in order to change something externally you need to focus on healing it internally. Diet is the answer to so many bodily issues. Limiting your sugar intake can help reduce the bacteria that causes plaque and build-up on the teeth, predominantly from sugar.
- Floss often
You’ve heard it enough from your dentist, but now you get to hear it from us too! Flossing is so, so, so important for your dental hygiene… and if that’s not enough to get you flossing, let’s just say it also seriously contributes to the color of your teeth. Flossing nightly will eliminate plaque and build-up in between your teeth, creating healthier and overall whiter teeth.
After all of this, I also want to add that it is okay to have little stains on your teeth. Life is too short to stop drinking lattes and red wine. But, if you want to make your already beautiful smile just a little whiter, and even healthier, then there are many options for safe and effective teeth whitening.
Written by Emma Carlson