Are there things you absolutely don’t want to do to whiten your teeth? There is a lot of misinformation out there about whitening teeth, especially on the web (don’t even get me started on the Soccer Mom teeth whitening scam).
Here are the top nine myths about tooth whitening that I find in my practice.
You Can Whiten Your Teeth With Baking Soda
This simply doesn’t work and will disrupt the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your mouth.
You Can Whiten Your Teeth Rinsing With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen Peroxide, when it comes into contact with the tissues, causes free radical reactions. These are the same reactions that age living tissue.
You Can Use Whitening Toothpaste and Whitening Gum
While these “whitening” toothpaste and chewing gums may have whitening chemicals in them, they are far too weak to have an effect. Whitening chemicals need to be in contact with the teeth for a minimum of 20 minutes in order to effect a color change.
Professional Whitening Gel and At-Home Whitening Gel Are the Same
All teeth whitening gels have different levels of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient that whitens your teeth. Professional whitening gel tends to be stronger then at-home whitening gel. Which leads me to myth #5…
The Strongest Whitening Gel Is the Best
While a stronger whitening gel may speed up the process, the whitening effect may not last as long. It is also more likely to cause pain and sensitivity.
Bottom line: You can achieve the same results with lower concentrations of whitening gel, plus it is safer and your teeth stay whiter longer.
Once Whitened, Teeth Will Stay White Forever
The color change is permanent, however, the aging process continues, which means your teeth continue to yellow. Touch-ups are needed to maintain the whitening.
This is one of the reasons the custom whitening tray method is best.
Strawberries and Lemons Can Be Used to Whiten Teeth
True, but at a cost. The way it works is the acids eat away at your teeth enamel. In the end, you can do permanent damage to your teeth if you take this route to whitening your teeth.
UV Light Can Speed Up the Whitening Process
There is no proof that a UV light used by a dentist (during in-office whitening) speeds up the process of whitening or does a better job at whitening your teeth. In fact, it may harm the tooth and can damage your eyes, lips, and gums with UV rays.
Crowns and Veneers Can Be Whitened
The whitening gels we use to whiten teeth only work on natural teeth and have no effect on porcelain surfaces, so you need to replace your crowns if you want them to match your other teeth.
Whitening Can Be Done At All Ages
Whitening children’s teeth can damage the live tissue inside the teeth. Only in some cases can children’s teeth be whitened safely.
Don’t become a victim of these common misconceptions about teeth whitening. Your smile is often the first thing people notice about you, so do your research before doing anything to your teeth and always consult your dentist first.
Mark Burhenne DDS