Best Whitening Toothpaste
Best Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash – Putting Your Best Face Forward
Welcome to ‘Best Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash Guide‘. Appearance may not be everything, but when you’re making an impression – going for that new job, a first date, or closing a sale – one of the most important elements of your appearance is a white, dazzling smile. There are many ways to achieve this, but one of the easiest is by using the best whitening toothpaste to make your teeth brilliantly white. Like many health and beauty products, there are lots of different options when choosing a toothpaste, and the differences between products may not be clear. We’ve broken down the information so you can find exactly what you need.
What’s The Difference?
First of all, it’s important to tell the difference between regular toothpaste and whitening toothpastes.
Traditional toothpaste is a formulation of both detergents and abrasive materials that work together to clean teeth. The detergents in toothpaste clean away food and bacteria that linger on the teeth and in the mouth after eating, drinking or sleeping. The abrasives in toothpaste further clean the teeth by loosening the plaque that builds up with daily activity.
In most basic terms, whitening toothpaste contains some extra chemicals or compounds that act on the surface of teeth to remove staining that has built up over time. While they offer the same cleaning power as their non-whitening counterparts, there is typically a bleaching agent included in the formula. As the teeth are lightly scoured by the abrasives, the bleaching agent activates below the surface of the tooth to remove surface stains and leave your teeth whiter. The best whitening toothpaste for you will depend on a few factors.
Why Do Teeth Stain?
There are many reasons why teeth take on a yellow or brown hue over time. One of the main reasons for this is use of staining or acidic food products that affect the enamel of the teeth. Some of the most common culprits are coffee, tea, wine, soda, and citrus-based juices such as orange and grapefruit. All of these break down the protective covering of enamel in your teeth and leave the tooth surface porous. Once the tooth is porous, discoloration can happen quickly, as particles of bacteria and stain from foods clings to the fissures in the tooth. The best whitening toothpaste can take care of this with continued use – but for best results it is advisable to avoid staining or acidic foods where practicable.
The aging process also contributes to tooth discoloration. As we age, the structure of our teeth changes, and these changes can cause the enamel under the surface to darken. The best whitening toothpaste will have some effect on this process, but sometimes more invasive measures are needed to restore teeth to their previous level of whiteness.
How Do I Find The Best Whitening Toothpaste?
There are a few factors to choosing the best whitening toothpaste for your needs. Not everyone will have equal results, and not every toothpaste is great for every individual. Some trial and error may be necessary in choosing a toothpaste that meets your needs by delivering excellent results without sensitivity. The bleaching agent in your toothpaste is one component that may result in different levels of whitening and comfort. There several bleaching agents:
Carbamide Peroxide – This solution is commonly found in whitening toothpaste. It is a combination of peroxide (a bleaching agent) and urea (a synthetic solution that is the byproduct of ammonia and carbon dioxide).
Hydrogen Peroxide – Just like the solution you find in your medicine cabinet, hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching and debriding agent (meaning it clears away dead cells) found in many of the best whitening toothpastes.
It’s important to understand that one of these chemical compounds is not equal to the other when you are shopping for the best whitening toothpaste for you. Carbamide peroxide will show on a label having a far higher concentration than straight hydrogen peroxide because it is approximately 1/3 of the strength of the latter. One interesting fact – Carbamide actually breaks down into hydrogen peroxide with use. For this reason, typically, carbamide peroxide will be found in higher-concentration applications (such as dentist office whitening or laser-reactive whitening) because it takes longer to break down, and when it does, breaks down into another compound that can be used to readily whiten teeth. Hydrogen peroxide is more likely to be found on the store shelves, but before you buy a bottle, you should be aware of the facts.
What Do I Need To Know?
Tooth sensitivity is a major issue with any form of in-office or at-home whitening solution, and every person has a different level of sensitivity. Even the best whitening toothpaste can make your teeth temporarily sensitive if your tolerance to these chemicals is not sufficient. Some toothpastes have ingredients to lessen this effect, but may only partially relieve this discomfort.
It also is worth noting that the chemicals and compounds found in the best whitening toothpastes are very strong, and very effective. For this reason, you must take special care to avoid getting this product in your eyes or mucous membranes, or swallowing it. While there is isn’t need for serious concern if you swallow these products, hydrogen peroxide can cause nausea and vomiting if consumed in sufficient amounts. In individuals with sensitivity to HP, consuming this accidentally may result in more pronounced symptoms as described above. In any event, it’s best to be safe when using these products.
Why Not Just Use Hydrogen Peroxide Solution?
While hydrogen peroxide is marketed as an oral cleansing and debriding solution, you should take some care in its use. While the best whitening toothpaste contains a certain concentration of hydrogen peroxide in its formula, this is not the same as the solution (typically 3%, but as high a 6%) found in liquid form on store shelves. Many people online will tell you to “swish” with hydrogen peroxide once per day for a few minutes in order to get a whiter smile easily, and far more inexpensively than by investing in a whitening toothpaste, but there are a few things to consider first:
Sensitivity – A large portion of the population has some level of sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide when used on the teeth. This sensitivity is caused by the fact that hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent that reaches below the enamel into the “dentin” layer underneath. This is the reason stain fighting with hydrogen peroxides so effective, but it also exposes teeth to sensitivity. This may occur when you eat hot or cold foods, or as an immediate result of use. There is a lot of trial and error with finding an acceptable dilution of hydrogen peroxide that will give you the whitening results you want while lessening or eliminating pain.
Tooth Damage – Any bleaching agent, even those found in the best whitening toothpaste, is effectively damaging your teeth by mild corrosive action. This corrosive action allows the bleaching agent to “reach into” the underlying areas of the tooth and pull out the particles and bacteria that are causing the tooth to discolor. While this damage is typically relatively minor and does not result in long-term issues, it is important to note that every person is different. People with past dental issues (cavities, nerve issues, etc.) should use extra caution when applying a solution of hydrogen peroxide to their teeth. It is always best to consult with a dentist before taking on any new care or brightening regimen, in order to rule out potential unseen factors that could result in long-term damage or nerve discomfort.
Methods Of In-Home Whitening
Some people feel that even the best whitening toothpaste leaves something to be desired. This may be because of the level of staining to the teeth caused by food and acidic enamel wear, or because they want faster or more pronounced results than what you can find with brushing alone. In these cases, there are several in-home options available to you that will significantly increase the brilliance of your smile without the need of going to a dentist or dental aesthetician.
Using the same bleaching agents found in the best whitening toothpastes (although in a somewhat higher concentration), whitening strips are an over-the-counter method of delivering doses of bleaching agent to the teeth over a set period of time. Typically, over-the-counter whitening strips are used every day for between 30-60 minutes. This time period allows the bleach the most time to activate and work on your teeth, while minimizing the risk of causing damage to the enamel. Results are typically expected in between one to two weeks, depending on the time of use and the concentration of the bleaching agent. These strips are very popular, because they are easy to apply and use while attending to other things at home. One of the drawbacks of these products is the price – a kit with two weeks worth of whitening strips can start at about $20 and may reach as high as $40 depending on the concentration.
Some whitening solutions come in the form of a gel-based paint composed of a thick mix of bleaching agent. Much like the application of the best whitening toothpaste, this “paint” sits on top of the teeth and delivers direct bleaching action to the affected areas. These might be useful when, due to damage or tooth decay, one tooth is a significantly different shade than those surrounding it. The paint solution allows you to target problem areas. The only drawback to this type of application, unlike strips and trays, there is no way to isolate the solution specifically to the teeth. Carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are highly effective whiteners, but they will act on any porous surface with which they come into contact. Just like getting hair dye on your skin, a dab of the solution on the gums, lips or face might temporarily lighten the affected area. Care must be taken to get the paint solution only where you need it.
There have been some entries on the market with at-home tray systems meant to give better, brighter results than even the best whitening toothpaste or strip. These trays are often worn for up to an hour, and have the benefit of providing continuous contact between the bleaching agent and the teeth. A step up from whitening strips, these trays contact the whole tooth – front and back. There are a few drawbacks, however. With the increased contact comes an increased chance of tooth sensitivity. The cost for these tray systems is also higher than that of a whitening strip kit.
When At Home Results Aren’t Enough
Even the best whitening toothpaste is not meant to deal with severe staining of the teeth or damage due to acidic beverages. Sometimes, it’s more effective to call in a professional to get the smile you want.
Dental Office Whitening
Your dental office may offer some level of whitening service, depending on whether your dentist is certified to offer these services. This type of service requires some training on the part of the staff at your office, so be sure to ask. Often, dental offices will offer “tray” style whitening solutions, where a dentist either treats your teeth in the office, or fits you with prescribed molds and a solution for home use. It is important to follow the instructions provided to you in order to gain optimal whitening power while preserving the health of your teeth.
Fast Whitening Services
There are also independent providers that specialize in fast-action tooth whitening. Many of these providers use the modern laser treatments available to create dramatic results over a very short period of time (often over the course of one or two office visits). These services work by passing laser light or a UV treatment light through a layer of highly concentrated bleaching agent in order to boost its effectiveness (often, treatments like this use a professional-grade concentration of carbamide peroxide to achieve the best results). While these results are often dramatic and fast, as with all whitening you must refrain from re-staining the teeth with the use of staining or acidifying agents. Using these, even when using the best whitening toothpaste as a follow up, may necessitate repeating the treatment to undo the new damage to your white smile.