01 Apr Teeth Whitening Can Ruin Your Healthy Smile – Here’s Why
Teeth whitening is far from a new concept, but these days it seems to have become a behemoth of its own, turning into a status symbol of sorts.
It seems we can track this new craze to a common culprit: the media. The rise of pearly white smiles online and in adverts has made people feel obliged to seek whiter and whiter teeth no matter the cost.
There is an overwhelming number of options for teeth whitening kits and services online. Usually, the marketing for these products seems pretty great, with them all claiming to be the UK’s #1 kit, offering all sorts of benefits with none of the risks.
But heed this warning: whitening products can be extremely harmful and cause lasting damage to your teeth. It’s really important you choose the right provider – but how? The answer lies in understanding what teeth whitening actually involves.
What is peroxide anyway?
Peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that works by breaking down the molecules in your teeth that cause staining. Used safely (by which I mean prescribed by a dentist), it can be a great way of achieving that pearly white smile.
Broadly speaking there are two types of teeth whitening kits: those prescribed by dentists, and those available online or in the supermarket.
With the latter two I suggest you exercise extreme caution. The EU passed new legislation in 2007 concluding that a limit of 0.1 per cent hydrogen peroxide is safe for products sold directly to consumers. Products containing more than this (up to 6 per cent) should be administered by dentists only.
Research suggests that the level required for effective whitening is higher than 0.1 per cent, meaning it can only be prescribed by dentists. I use prescribed teeth whitening kits myself and the results are fantastic, safe, and lasting. It doesn’t take long to read the ingredients list, but it could take a long time to fix damage caused by using products that are too strong for your teeth.
If you were to use a kit that wasn’t prescribed by a dentist but had a peroxide concentration higher than 0.1 per cent, you could risk burning your gums. Whilst this is something specialist dentists like myself can fix, prevention is always better than cure.
You might think such kits are easy to avoid, but the news is full of horror stories. In fact, Which? tested 36 teeth whitening kits and found that 21 of them contained levels of hydrogen peroxide that exceeded the legal limit.
Do whitening toothpastes really work?
If this blog is an expose, another product I’d like to shed some truth on is whitening toothpastes. To put it bluntly, the majority of whitening toothpastes are completely useless – not to mention ridiculously expensive.
Some whitening toothpastes can only be prescribed by dentists, and it is these that are the exception to the rule. Most people, however, don’t need to worry about this. As long as toothpaste has enough fluoride in it (1,400 parts per million fluoride), the brand and the price tag are irrelevant. It’s yet another marketing tactic to encourage people to think they need to spend ridiculous amounts of money to achieve white teeth. You don’t!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: simple is best. If you’re keeping your mouth healthy and as bacteria-free as possible, you really don’t need to concern yourself – or your wallet – with fads and scams.
If you do have any concerns about your oral health, please complete the form below and one of the team will contact you by the next working day. We’re able to offer you reassurance and advice for all your dental worries and we’d be happy to hear from you.