If your teeth don't look as white as they used to, then a whitening toothpaste might be worth a try. You can buy off-the-shelf products that contain whitening agents. These toothpastes either remove stains or bleach the teeth; some pastes can do both.
Which ingredients should you look for if you want to whiten your teeth when you brush them?
Whitening toothpastes often contain small amounts of abrasive materials. These ingredients often help deal with surface or minor staining on the teeth; they can also prevent stains from taking hold on teeth and discolouring them.
Abrasives basically give a paste a little extra scrubbing power. The hard particles rub against the teeth as you clean them. There are a few different common abrasive ingredients used in off-the-shelf toothpastes. Look for products that contain sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), calcium carbonate (chalk) or silica. All of these ingredients add some grit to your cleaning routine.
Activated charcoal toothpastes are also an option here. While charcoal is mainly a binding agent that pulls bad stuff off the teeth when you brush with it, this carbon material is also slightly gritty. As well as making teeth cleaner, charcoal's abrasive particles can also deal with some stains. Bear in mind that activated charcoal toothpastes are often dark grey or black in colour, so cleaning your teeth can initially be a little alarming.
Some whitening toothpastes contain bleaching agents. So, for example, a paste might contain hydrogen peroxide, calcium peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These toothpastes typically don't contain enough bleach to do any damage as long as you brush according to the instructions. However, the bleaching agents they do contain can do a useful job. This isn't necessarily an immediate fix. You usually have to use a bleaching toothpaste regularly before you see a difference in your tooth colour. However, as you use the toothpaste over time, the bleaches work to whiten teeth slightly.
Ageing teeth can darken in colour slightly, so a whitening toothpaste may help you get some brightness back into your smile. They are also useful if you eat or drink foods that tend to stain the teeth, like coloured drinks such as red wine, sodas, tea or coffee.
If you don't get the results you want from a whitening toothpaste, then your next port of call is your dentist. They can take a look at your teeth colour and recommend professional treatments that will give you faster and more comprehensive results.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved stories about the past. Whether the stories were about horses, wars, exploration or even dentistry, I loved to hear them. I find that knowing the history of something helps it to make sense and feel approachable. I know that some people have dental anxiety, and I too have suffered, but I also feel like the more you know about dental work and its history, the easier it is. This blog is dedicated to exploring the history of dentistry – What did ancient people use for fillings? How did early dentists numb their patients? Who was the first dentist? Those are just some of the questions I plan to answer here. Ready? Okay, let's dive into the history of dentistry together!