Do Teeth Whitening Toothpastes Work?

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Brands which claim their whitening toothpastes are effective at producing whiter teeth are almost certainly correct. However, it is important to realise the definition of 'effective' can be very loose. Your teeth are composed of two main layers, the innermost being made up of a calcified body tissue called dentin and the outermost is made up of protective enamel. It is this outer layer which serves to protect your teeth from daily activities like eating and drinking. Stains can occur in both layers with the outer or 'extrinsic' stains being relatively easy to remove through the use of scouring, scraping or chemicals. However, stains which occur on the inner layer ('intrinsic' stains) are much more difficult to remove.

In most cases whitening toothpastes make use of light abrasives and certain chemicals which can help to eradicate stains which form on the outer layers of your teeth. In this role they are very effective, but they won't be able to remove stains which have penetrated down into the inner layers of your teeth. In cases of intrinsic stains, a professional whitening treatment is often called for. If the abrasives used in the toothpaste are too strong there is also a danger that they can erode the enamel, causing tooth sensitivity and making the stains which have formed on your tooth's inner layers more obvious.

Many modern types of whitening toothpastes also contain chemical agents which are designed to be extra effective at tackling stains than normal toothpastes. Whilst this sort of toothpaste may make your teeth seem a bit lighter, due to the absence of stains, they won't actually 'bleach' your teeth as a professional treatment would. It is also important to make sure your whitening toothpaste contains fluoride so that you are protected against bacteria build ups and the ensuing tooth decay. It is also worth noting that whitening toothpastes can often be a great compliment to a professional whitening treatment and help keep your freshly bleached teeth stain free.

Read more in the Dental Treatment Information Guide »