Teeth whitening is a pretty popular cosmetic dentistry procedure. It’s a great way to make your smile as bright and beautiful as possible, not to mention keeping it looking young and healthy. But how does it work, exactly? What is it about teeth whitening products that actually whitens the teeth?
Baking soda is good for so much more than just acting as a raising agent in baked goods. When included in toothpastes, it can help whiten your teeth. Baking soda acts as a mild abrasive, scrubbing away at stain particles on the surface of your teeth. It’s not an overnight thing, but consistent brushing with a baking soda toothpaste can help your teeth look whiter. As an added bonus, the baking soda helps create a more alkaline environment in your mouth, inhibiting bacteria growth.
If you’ve used a take home product for tray bleaching, you were probably using carbamide peroxide. Carbamide peroxide is a bleaching product that works by breaking down into hydrogen peroxide when combined with water. The hydrogen peroxide molecules then enter the tooth and whiten it. Carbamide peroxide tends to take longer than hydrogen peroxide to be fully effective, but you can expect to see similar results from this product.
Hydrogen peroxide: the true star of the show when it comes to teeth whitening. Some toothpastes have it along with baking soda as ingredients, which can help whiten teeth. Hydrogen peroxide is a weak acid that works by oxidizing stains. It steals electrons from the stain particles, which weakens their bonds. This allows them to break down and for the molecules to fall apart. When compared to carbamide peroxide, the biggest difference is in the speed of its effectiveness. Hydrogen peroxide releases most of its whitening agent within an hour.
As you can see, teeth whitening works primarily by attacking substances that stain the teeth. Because of this, you aren’t likely to see results if the tooth discoloration is because of something else like decay or injury. Still, not to worry. Our dental experts here at Showtime Smiles are dedicated to giving each of our patients a show-stopping smile that they’ll wake up feeling proud of every day. The solution may just involve something beyond whitening.
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