Does Whitening Toothpaste Really Work?

Whether due to aging, smoking, or drinking too much tooth-staining tea, there are plenty of things that can cause our pearly whites to be, well… not so white. If you’re one of the many people who are trying to score a whiter smile by using whitening toothpastes, our dental office in Hyde Park wants you to read on…

3 Pros of Whitening Toothpaste

There can be some benefits using whitening toothpaste. Some of these positives may include:

Effective Removal of Surface Stains. Most whitening toothpastes can effectively scrub away surface stains. So far, the stuff looks pretty good.

Easy to Use. If you can use regular toothpaste, you can use a whitening toothpaste. Just dab a little on your toothbrush and gently brush twice a day.

Most Affordable Option. At just a few bucks a tube, whitening toothpaste is appealing to many who are trying to get a whiter smile.

3 Cons of Whitening Toothpaste

However, using a whitening toothpaste isn’t all positive. While it may be effective, easy to use, and fairly cheap, there are also some disadvantages including:

It Takes a Long Time to See Results. A key part of making whitening toothpaste work is using it regularly. This means brushing with it twice a day, every day. Even then it could take weeks to see a change in color.

Could Cause More Harm Than Good. Whitening toothpastes are packed with abrasive ingredients. That’s another part of what makes it work. But it’s also what can cause damage. The abrasive texture of whitening toothpastes can wear away enamel, leaving teeth at risk for decay and sensitivity. Thinner enamel can also cause teeth to appear darker, which really isn’t the look we were going for.

It May Not Work for You. Sometimes tooth staining goes deeper than the surface, making whitening toothpastes essentially ineffective. But don’t panic. Cosmetic dentistry such as dental veneers can still transform your smile.

Alternatives to Whitening Toothpaste

Even though whitening toothpaste tends to be the go-to option for getting a whiter smile, there are other things you can do to help get, and keep, your teeth pearly white.

  • After drinking tea or coffee, rinse your mouth out with water.
  • Stop smoking or using chewing tobacco.
  • Eat more apples, cheese, or celery to gently rub away potential stains.
  • Consider a professional smile whitening from your dentist in Hyde Park.

The best way to whiten your smile depends on several things, and there is no one solution that’s right for everyone. To find out what will help get you a whiter smile, we welcome you to schedule an appointment our Hyde Park dental office.

Eat Your Way to a Whiter Smile

One of the most common things dental patients want is to get a whiter smile. Thanks to everyday things like our morning cup of coffee or tea, or the occasional glass of red wine, our teeth are constantly exposed to foods and drinks that can easily cause them to become dull or discolored. However, your dentist in Hyde Park also knows that there are things you can eat and drink that can actually help improve the appearance of your smile. Let’s check out a few.

Broccoli

We know that broccoli may not be the most popular choice of vegetables, but it’s first on our list of smile whitening foods for a reason. In fact, broccoli can help improve the look of our teeth in two ways. First, the texture of raw broccoli essentially acts as a gentle scrubber and can effectively rub off surface stains. Additionally, broccoli is loaded with iron which, according to research by the European Journal of Dentistry, can protect tooth enamel from acid and keep it from wearing away. This can keep enamel tough, strong, and looking as white as ever.

Apples

Switching from veggies to fruits, apples provide similar benefits to broccoli. Raw apples, in particular, also rub away stains as we chew them thanks to their crunchy texture. Apples also contain malic acid — an enzyme that has been linked to increased saliva production. Increased saliva neutralizes acid, protects enamel, and can wash away loose stains.

Pineapple

Another fruit that can help with tooth stains is pineapple. This delicious fruit is loaded with bromelain. Bromelain is known to help with inflammation and is a natural cleanser. In fact, the International Journal of Dental Hygiene conducted a study that concluded that bromelain can safely and effectively remove tooth stains.

Cheese

Dairy foods and drinks, including yogurt, milk, and cheese are great for oral health as well as tooth staining. Foods in this food group contain a trifecta of good stuff like calcium, vitamin D, and lactic acid. The calcium and vitamin D help keep tooth enamel strong, which also helps keep teeth looking white. The lactic acid, on the other hand, is really great at fighting off bacteria and decay. Just like broccoli and apples, hard cheeses can also scrub away surface stains.

Water

The last thing and perhaps the most important thing that you can do to protect your oral health and keep your teeth white is to drink plenty of water, and choose water over other beverages whenever possible. Water helps to neutralize the acid that can attack enamel, and is also really effective at rinsing away food particles. If these particles aren’t removed quickly they can lead to decay and cavities, and, in turn, tooth discoloration.

If you’re one of the many people who wish that they had a whiter smile, try getting a good dose of the foods above. It’s important to note, however, that while these foods can help whiten teeth, they may only be effective on minor surface stains. Deeper tooth staining may require a visit to your dentist in Hyde Park. Some stains are tougher than others, and your dental team will be able to recommend the best smile whitening treatment for your specific case. Don’t worry, there are many options available – from professional teeth whitening to cosmetic dentistry – that can help you get the smile you’ve always wanted.

Why Are My Teeth Discolored?

When we picture a healthy smile, we all tend to envision bright, white teeth. So as your dentist in Hyde Park, we can certainly understand why it may be concerning if you notice some discoloration in your smile. We’re also here to help by sharing some things that can cause tooth discoloration, as well as how to fix it.

Poor Brushing Habits

The most common explanation for tooth discoloration is improper brushing or poor brushing habits. Daily brushings help remove plaque and bacteria on teeth that have built up throughout the day that otherwise could cause teeth to appear discolored. In fact, poor brushing habits can cause teeth to take on a yellowish or gray appearance, or even show orange or green spots. It’s important that you brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time to effectively remove this buildup and to protect yourself from the risk of decay, as well as discoloration.

An Accident or Trauma

A single tooth that seems to suddenly appear darker in color can indicate a sign of tooth trauma. Perhaps you experienced a sports accident, a fall, or you bonked your mouth on a hard surface and you didn’t think much of it. Yet a day or two later your tooth starts to look gray or dull. Chances are, the tooth experienced some level of trauma and you should have your dentist in Hyde Park check it out.

Too Much Fluoride

Fluoride is something that many dentists use on both baby teeth and adult teeth to help strengthen enamel and protect against decay. It’s a mineral found naturally in many foods and drinks, and even in most public water supplies. However, there is such a thing as too much fluoride, and one of the most common signs of it are small white streaks or spots on the teeth known as fluorosis.

Medications or Illness

A certain antibiotic known as tetracycline can also cause tooth discoloration if a pregnant or nursing mom takes it around the same time teeth are developing and growing. This can cause teeth to appear bluish-gray or brownish-yellow. Additionally, an illness that results in high fever and even some infections may cause discoloration. Babies who have had hyperbilirubinemia, a condition that occurs when there’s too much bilirubin in the blood and the condition that causes jaundice, may experience teeth that look blue, green, red, or brown.

Diet

A diet that contains too many acidic foods and drinks can wear down tooth enamel and cause teeth to appear dull, dark, gray, or yellow. Furthermore, a diet high in sugary foods and drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay which can present itself as dark or brown patches. Some of the most common foods and beverages that are known to cause tooth discoloration include wine, coffee, tea, berries, and even pasta sauce.

Any discoloration in your teeth should be a sign that you should see your dentist in Hyde Park to determine the cause as well as the best treatment. Call us to schedule an appointment today.