We all have this aim to be perfect. We want the perfect shaped bodies and bright white smiles. Many of us will do anything to get our aims.
The problem is we tend to cause more harm than good. That’s especially if we don’t follow natural, home remedies that will add some extra benefit to our bodies. But how many of us will admit to trying natural teeth whitening methods?
Most of the time, we will consider the teeth whitening kits and how they work. What we don’t do is look at everything we should know about the kits—the good and the bad. Many people fail to check the ways that these kits can damage our health or our teeth. We overlook the problems they cause to the enamel or the gum lines.
So, it’s time to look at everything you need to know about teeth whitening kits to make sure you make the best choice for your oral health and white smiles.
Teeth Whitening Is Still a Dental Treatment
In many parts of the world, teeth whitening is regulated and done through dental offices. This is to help prevent damage to the teeth, the gums, and the mouth. In many cases, you will be offered a clean during your routine check-ups, especially if no other work is needed.
Dentists will use polishes and tools that will scrape the plaque away and brighten the smile. The materials are all regulated and safe for use but also offer the teeth a deep clean without harm to the overall health of your teeth and gums.
However, there are some downsides. The cleaning tools do scrape across the enamel. There is the risk of removing some of it from your teeth rather than just the staining. There is also a risk of damaging the gums when the tools get right into the gum line. Dentists will try to avoid too much damage but can’t prevent all of it.
There are also teeth whitening tools within the dental office. They don’t just clean, but they offer a brighter smile. In countries where this is regulated by dental authorities, you’ll find that the whiteners are much stronger than the over the counter options. That means you’ll need fewer visits so will be able to spend less money on the cosmetic treatment.
Laser Whitening vs. Home Whitening
Many dentists will use lasers on the teeth to help brighten them up. This is a cosmetic procedure that you can only have done in a regulated office, and you will need to book a consultation. Like with any type of laser treatment, there are risks involved. One of the biggest risks is heat damage to your teeth or mouth.
However, the lasers are controlled. And they’re not the reason for the white smile. A whitening gel is placed on the teeth, and the laser simple activates that gel.
The gel goes through your enamel to whitening up the inside of your teeth. It doesn’t damage the enamel or weakening it once the treatment has been finalized. Deep stains are much easier to remove, and the natural yellow color of teeth can be brightened.
This type of treatment will usually take an hour to complete. It is a deep clean, so you will see good results immediately.
The home whitening strips will use a chemical that you place on your teeth. The gel is placed into a plastic tray, and you pop the tray over your teeth. They fit snugly, but they can be extremely uncomfortable. The good news is you only need to wear them for 20-60 minutes (depending on the manufacturer). The bad news is that you will need to do this daily for a permanently white smile.
The kits often contain a peroxide. While the peroxide is at a level that is safe for the teeth, there are risks of damage to the tooth enamel. This is especially the case if you use it for longer than instructed by the manufacturer. You run the risk of tooth decay because it’s easier for plaque and bacteria to get into the pulp of the teeth.
However, the kits are safe when you follow the instructions. They won’t even work any faster or deeper if you choose to use them for longer. One of the downsides is that you won’t quite get the same deep clean that the laser treatments offer.
There are also strips with the peroxide that you can buy. These are placed on the teeth and left for a period—length will depend on the manufacturer. They bleach the teeth to make them whiter. Don’t worry about over-whitening. You won’t get the same outcome as Ross from Friends when he whitened his teeth and made them ultraviolet!
Scraping the Teeth to Whitening Them
Not all whitening products will whiten or brighten the teeth. They’re designed to clean the teeth instead and bring them back to their natural colour. The truth is that teeth aren’t naturally white! The pulp inside is yellow, and the slightly whiter shade comes from the enamel. But we’re just led to believe that white teeth are the norm.
Some whitening kits will be abrasive. The aim is to scrape away the staining. While they can be effective with daily or bi-daily use, they can also be an issue and be a little damaging. Remember that you’re scraping against the enamel, which is there to protect the pulp of your teeth. You’re causing the same problem as dentists scraping your teeth above.
It’s important to read the labels of any product you buy over the counter. Make sure they will whiten and not just scrape away the staining. You can check this by reading how they’re supposed to work and the ingredients. If they contain peroxide, then they will brighten the teeth and not just clean them.
Not All Teeth Will Whiten Up
You may find that some teeth are whiter than others. This isn’t a fault with the product but just due to your teeth.
If you have veneers, you’ll find that they will look whiter than your normal teeth. They are cosmetically designed to look brighter and whiter.
When it comes to fillings, they will naturally make your teeth look a little duller. Silver fillings will stand out and can make parts of your teeth look blacker because you see the fillings through the enamel. Others are dyed to look the same colour as your teeth at the time of placing them. If you then whiten your teeth, the fillings won’t whiten as much, and they become more visible.
The placement of the teeth and where the gel or whitening strips touch can also cause non-uniform colouring. If the peroxide can’t get into certain sections as well as others, the sections won’t brighten up that well. It’s just like if you tried to dye your hair and didn’t put as much on certain sections or missed them out completely!
You’ll also find that some teeth are just naturally greyer or yellower than others. The peroxide can only work with what it must start with.
This will be the case for all kits and for the laser treatment. Your dentist will be able to discuss your options if you have fillings that are going to cause an issue for non-uniform colouring.
Teeth Whitening Kits May Lead to Sensitivity
In most cases, you won’t suffer from any sensitivity after using the teeth whitening kits. What you should keep in mind is that already sensitive teeth may need other treatments rather than whitening. And performing whitening first can be a waste of time!
Sensitive teeth are a sign of other dental problems. You may need fillings or have exposed roots. Root canals are also common or you may need a tooth extracted. It’s important to discuss any tooth sensitivity with your dentist. If you have just had dental work, then the sensitivity is likely due to that. Give it a few days, and you should find the sensitivity is left to a minimum.
When your teeth are okay but still sensitive, there are some desensitising treatments available. These can be beneficial before whitening. When you use peroxide on already sensitive teeth, you can experience some discomfort of minor pain during the bleaching process.
Avoid Staining Habits After Teeth Whitening
The whole point of whitening is to get a brighter and whiter smile. Many people make the mistake of sticking to their normal eating, drinking, and smoking routines after the whitening process. All you’re doing is making that process ineffective. The whitening kits aren’t miracle workers!
Most products will recommend that you avoid all staining habits for at least 24 hours after whitening. This includes smoking, drinking tea, and eating teeth staining foods. In fact, some manufacturers go as far to suggest a white food and drink diet only for the 72 hours after whitening your teeth!
This isn’t just to prevent staining, but also for your tooth sensitivity. Some people will experience some discomfort for the first day or so after using the bleaching process. This isn’t quite the case with abrasive treatments.
If you want to keep the white teeth for if possible, it’s best to rethink your diet. Drinking red wine and tea or smoking will lead to yellowing of the teeth. What’s more important? White teeth for longer or your staining habits?
How White Will Your Teeth Get?
When you use the products as instructed, you will only get a naturally white and healthy smile. Your teeth will be a similar shade to the whites of your eyes. Any whiter than that and they will look strange and unnatural. Everyone will be able to tell that you opted for some type of treatment.
There are some cases of ultraviolet whites. This is when you use the treatments in the wrong way. Don’t think sleeping with the gels on is a good idea for whiter teeth! You’re not just making your teeth look odd, but you’re putting them at risk.
Do the Whitening Kits Cause Damage?
We’ve talked about the damage potential to the enamel, but what about to the gums? Peroxide is an acid, and it can cause some gum recession.
If you use the whitening kits frequently, you put yourself at more risk of the gums receding than if you just used them once a month or so. Receding gums are painful and expose the roots. They put you at a higher risk of developing gum disease and can also lead to tooth decay within the gum line.
It’s not just the teeth whitening kits that will cause this damage. Some of the natural teeth whitening products will also cause some gum recession and tooth enamel destruction. This is especially the case with ingredients that contain some type of acid or involve harsh brushing. If you find your gums are bleeding, you should stop the treatments!
Some natural treatments like baking soda, turmeric, and sea salt can add extra nourishment to the mouth while whitening the teeth. They are full of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Will You Use Teeth Whitening Kits?
Now it’s over to you. What will you opt for when it comes to teeth whitening? There are plenty of teeth whitening kits available, but you will want to make sure they are effective. Those whitening toothpastes just remove the staining from the surface of the teeth. The actual kits that can cost hundreds of dollars will use a bleaching formula to cleanse the teeth to a deeper level.
Dentists can also perform a cosmetic treatment to help brighten the smile. These often involve lasers, which are highly effective when used safely.
But you don’t need to spend a fortune on manufactured kits. You can opt for natural methods instead to nourish the mouth and protect the teeth while brightening your smile.