Recently whitening mouthwashes have started to make their way onto drugstore shelves, with wonderful claims of rapid, effective results. While the idea of a quick fix can be tempting, there are a few things to consider when deciding if this is the best way to go about whitening your teeth.
To start with, in order to extend their shelf life, these products are manufactured with ingredients that are very acidic, with an average PH of ~4.4. Rinsing with these kinds of erosive liquids can be very damaging to your enamel, especially if you do so repeatedly over a prolonged period of time, an action that is generally encouraged in order to achieve optimal whitening results with these products. In addition to this, hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient in these mouthwashes, readily reacts with saliva and other areas of the mouth, which is counterproductive to tooth whitening. While it may produce some whitening effects, swishing with a whitening mouthwash will therefore not have a controlled, consistent effect on stains. Something else to take into consideration is that you don’t know how long the product has been sitting on the shelf. While its label may boast an enticing 3% hydrogen peroxide concentration, this may not actually be the case. With time hydrogen peroxide reacts to form water and oxygen. Depending on the conditions the solution has been stored and transported in, there can be wide variation in hydrogen peroxide concentration by the time you get it home.
If you’re interested in whitening your teeth, it is wise to speak with your dentist first. If you have a mild level of staining, then whitening toothpastes, whitening rinses or at-home bleaching kits may be effective for removing the surface stains that are discoloring your teeth, and your dentist will be able to point you toward a solution that is the most convenient and cost-effective for you, while still producing the results you desire.
It’s especially important to talk to your dentist about tooth whitening if you have fillings, crowns or if you have severe stains. If you have severe stains, or different types of dental restoration, your dentist may recommend an in-office professional whitening procedure. This way, he or she can use stronger bleaching products than those available as over-the-counter products, and provide the specialized equipment to protect your gums and oral tissues when using these stronger products.
Your dentist at North Burnaby Dental Group is happy to look at your teeth and help you devise a personal approach to teeth whitening, whether with products you can get at the drug store, or with take-home whitening trays that you can get at the office, or with our fast, in-office Spa-dent whitening procedure. Rest assured, there is a safe, affordable system that will work for you.