Brighten Your Smile

Questions Behind Teeth Whitening

bigstock-Woman-Face-3870643Your smile says more about you than any other physical feature.  A beautiful, white smile is one of the fastest ways to leave a great impression.  Thankfully, whitening your teeth is one of the simplest, least expensive and least invasive methods that you can use to enhance your appearance.

Recently I have had quite a few people contacting me in person or by email asking specific questions about tooth whitening.  There is a great deal of information on this subject and therefore I have decided to spend the next few weeks going over current products,  trends and information so that if you decide  that this is something you would like to do you will be able to make an informed decision about which method is best for you.

What are the reasons that teeth discolor and stain?

Discolored teeth may be divided into two main groups: those discolored internally and those discolored externally on the tooth surface.  Internal discoloration may be due to drugs, heredity, tooth trauma and age and external discoloration is more likely due to habits and foodstuff.

How does whitening work?

Whitening products may be divided into two major groups:

  • Whitening toothpastes/mouthrinses: contain polishing or chemical agents to improve tooth appearance by removing surface stains only
  • Peroxide-containing whiteners or bleaching agents: actually changes the natural tooth color by removing deep (intrinsic) and surface(extrinsic) stains

Now let’s look at the process of actually changing the color of the teeth that people call “Bleaching” that I will henceforth refer to as “Whitening”.

Tooth whitening is a chemical process and Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide that breaks down into Hydrogen Peroxide and urea are the two main chemicals in use today.  The whitening agent used breaks down into tiny molecules that are able to move inside the tooth and break down any molecules that cause discoloration.

But with so many products out there, where do you start?

The two main categories are: Over-The-Counter Products – Whitening Strips/Paint-On

Professional Products – Take Home Kits/In-Office



Some Facts about Whitening Strips

  • Strips often only cover your front 6 teeth
  • Strips only work well on perfectly straight teeth
  • Strips have trouble staying in place, come off easily, are messy, the product gets on the gum tissues and is also easily swallowed
  • You usually need to do touch-ups every six months which can become very costly over the long term

Some Facts about Paint-On Whitening Products

  • Contain very low level of hydrogen peroxide so they are too weak to be effective
  • Are only active on the tooth for 2-3 minutes before your saliva washes it away
  • Contains phosphoric acid (which is corrosive)

Next week we will be looking at Professional Whitening Products and I urge you to stay tuned as you might be truly surprised to find out how safe and cost-effective these professional products can be.

In the meantime, have you tried any teeth whitening products? What were the results?  I love getting feedback. For you bloggers out there, if you leave a comment, you will get commentluv.  That is a plugin that allows you to leave a link back to your own blog.  But you don’t have to be a blogger to leave a comment. I’d like to hear from everyone!

Until next time,


3 thoughts on “Brighten Your Smile

  1. Pingback: Brighten Your Smile | Smile Whitening

  2. Hi Sang,
    I am glad you enjoyed reading my blog and I think you are wrong about people not wanting to read about dentistry. It is such an exciting time to be in the dental field with all the new advances in technology and the oral/systemic link being at the forefront of preventive care.

  3. Hi I have indeed looked at the website and downloaded lots of studies and information for my archives so thanks. I have phoned the company with some very important questions and no one has gotten back to me yet. I am a little disappointed!

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