More and more, people are chasing after that bright white Hollywood smile. It’s no wonder. Pick your favourite celebrity, or any celebrity these days, and chances are they have a sparkling white smile. We are constantly being bombarded with ads featuring 3D or Optic or Iceberg or Fill-in-the-adjective White! And I get it – we all want to feel confident about our smiles. We want them to look their best. Consequently, more people are searching for a cheap and easy option for achieving this. The most obvious choice people are turning to is whitening toothpaste, and there are heaps of them on the market these days to choose from.
Whitening toothpastes are designed to remove surface stains from your teeth on a daily basis. How? They use abrasive particles to scrub and clean the surface of your enamel, getting rid of the stain while brushing. Sounds innocent enough, right? Wrong. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming) If only it were that simple.
First, I should mention that the efficacy of whitening toothpastes has been met with mixed reviews. While I believe products should do what they claim to do, that is not the main problem I have with these products. I don’t actually even want to discuss if they do in fact whiten your teeth.
My biggest issue is that they may be causing more harm to teeth and gums than people realize. Because they are more abrasive than regular toothpastes, over time, they can actually wear down and cause damage to the enamel, which is the hard, protective outer layer of your tooth. This can dramatically increase tooth sensitivity and even the potential of getting cavities. And thin enamel, ironically, can even make the teeth look darker or yellower. The abrasiveness of whitening toothpaste can also increase gum recession. What people may not realize is that once the damage to the enamel is done, there is nothing you can do to easily fix it.
Not all toothpastes are created equal; some are less abrasive than others. If you are concerned about the colour of your teeth, you would be better off to use a lower abrasion toothpaste along with special whitening products. That way, you can get the white teeth you want without potentially irreversibly damaging your teeth in the process.
If you have a question regarding your current toothpaste, ask you dental professional to shed some light on which products are best suited for you.