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For many of us, whiter teeth are a sign of youth, beauty, and vitality. If your teeth look dull and lifeless, you may lose some self confidence causing you to miss out on precious moments in life. As we age, our teeth will lose some of their natural whiteness, changing instead to a yellowish, even brownish/gray tinge. This occurs from our daily habits like drinking coffee, possibly smoking, or drinking red wine.

We are bombarded by magazine and television ads displaying models with perfectly white teeth. After awhile, you begin to wonder whether you can have whiter, brighter teeth too? Luckily, there are many options out there to do just that. The traditional way has been to go to the dentist and have them professionally whitened under controlled conditions. Today, we have other options like teeth whitening toothpastes. Are these toothpastes effective at whitening our teeth?

What Is Special About Teeth Whitening Toothpastes?

Most of us use toothpaste every day just to maintain our dental hygiene. It is a product we are all very familiar with. Manufactures have now found a way to add an extra element to your favorite toothpastes allowing the addition of teeth whitening materials into the mix to give you an added benefit.  Some are more abrasive to help remove surface stains, some have peroxide and other additive ingredients to actually allow for some deeper whitening to occur. It should be noted that teeth whitening toothpastes do work, but they will NOT whiten your teeth as effectively as your dentist can. Also, each individual’s results will vary.

Teeth whitening toothpastes commonly contain the following ingredients:

Hydrogen peroxide. The same teeth whitening ingredient used in most teeth whitening strips. This is found in the new Colgate Optic White toothpaste.

-Sodium Hydroxide. This is another ingredient used to whiten teeth. Crest 3D white toothpaste utilizes this as it’s main teeth whitening agent.

Sodium Tripolyphosphate. Do not be scared off by the long name. This chemical is effective in removing stains from the enamel on your teeth.

Blue Covarine. This chemical is present in some teeth whitening toothpaste. Blue covarine has the ability to adhere to the surface of teeth creating an optical illusion that can make our teeth appear less yellow.

Abrasives. These abrasives, such as baking soda, will provide a perfect cleansing and polishing on the teeth surface and over time will remove light stains that make our teeth appear yellowish or brown.

When used twice a day, teeth whitening toothpaste generally takes from two to six weeks to make teeth appear whiter and brighter. Teeth whitening toothpastes that contain blue covarine can have an almost immediate effect on your smile.

Teeth Whitening Toothpaste Conclusion

Americans spend over $1.5 billion on toothpaste per year and it is a rapidly growing market. Many of the toothpastes have become quite specialized, especially those geared towards teeth whitening. But do teeth whitening toothpastes really work? The simple answer is yes, but to what degree?. If your teeth are brown and discolored, it will not work as effectively as a professional teeth whitening. The difference being, that the dentist uses chemicals specifically designed to whiten teeth (and applied under very controlled conditions) whereas many of the teeth whitening toothpastes on the market use much lower concentrations of these whitening agents, or none at all. Don’t get overly frustrated if using teeth whitening toothpastes don’t do much for you. They are helpful in some mild degree of whitening, but will not give you the super white smile that actual professional whitening will. They are best used as an adjunct to a professional whitening, to help keep your teeth whiter and brighter longer, or for younger people to brighten up an already nice smile. Teeth whitening toothpastes are a cost effective way to brighten your smile, discontinue use if they begin to cause sensitivity.

It is always recommended you see your dentist for professional cleanings and dental examinations. This is a perfect time to discuss teeth whitening options and what method would work best for you. Teeth whitening can be a very personalized choice and each program can be tailored to each patient’s needs and expectations. Find out today how to get your teeth whiter and brighter.

We all have habits some good and some bad. But did you know that some of these habits can affect your teeth?

The following are some habits that can damage your teeth and oral health…

1. Tobacco. This is an obvious one for most people. Smoking turns your beautiful white teeth yellow over time, but it can be much more damaging than that. Smoking or even smokeless tobacco has been shown to cause oral cancer (along with lung and throat cancer), periodontal disease, tooth decay, and eventually tooth loss.

2. Diet pills. Taking these may seem like a quick way to slim your waist line, diet pills can also be an easy way to develop gum disease and tooth decay. Most people do not realize but many over the counter medications, like diet pills, actually cause your body to decrease salivary flow. When salivary flow decreases you increase your risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease. The best prescription for losing weight is a well balanced diet along with regular exercise. Not only will you lose weight but you will protect your smile.

3. Teeth grindingTeeth grinding (also called Bruxism) has a wide range of effects on a person’s smile. Grinding your teeth can affect your temperomandibular joint (commonly referred to as the TMJ), cause premature breakdown of teeth, cause tooth sensitivity, and even change the appearance of your face. People who have normally healthy teeth will over time destroy the outer layer of their teeth(the enamel) which causes chipping, fractures, and sensitivity. Stress is a major factor in teeth grinding so finding ways to relax prior to bedtime will be the long term goal. Your dentist can fabricate a custom night guard for you to protect your teeth and help stop the habit.

4. Choosing not to Floss. Brushing and flossing are equally important. Many people use the excuse that they are really good brushers so they do not need to floss. But that is not the case. Flossing at least once per day is one of the best things you can do for maintenance of your teeth. Flossing helps remove plaque and food debris from around the teeth, in between the teeth and along the gum line. This will help prevent the onset of periodontal disease. Flossing will also help control bad breath by removing the bacteria and food debris causing it in most cases.

5. Brushing at the wrong time. We have always been taught to brush after every meal. But recent studies have shown that depending on what you are consuming it might no be the best idea for you. After eating or drinking foods high in acid (like soft drinks, citrus fruits, or even wine) it is best to rinse with water first to neutralize the acids and then brush about an hour or so later. Researchers have shown this is because right after exposing our teeth to the high acid environment the enamel weakens and the brushing action could cause tooth enamel erosion. So its best to rinse first to neutralize the acid and then brush later.

6. Chewing Ice. This is especially dangerous for your molars in the back of your mouth. Chewing on ice presents an advanced challenge to our teeth. The tremendous forces needed to break thru the ice can crack your teeth or existing fillings. Our molars have pointy edges called cusps and can shear off and break from chewing ice. The coldness of ice can cause the nerves connected to the teeth to get damaged as well. An alternative to crushing the ice with your teeth and let the ice cube melt in your mouth.

7. Sports drinks. These types of drinks have become extremely popular among athletes as well as the general population. But they are hazardous to your teeth. Sports drinks are highly acidic just like soft drinks. This means they can have the same effect as soft drinks in eroding away a tooth’s enamel. Also many of these drinks are high in sugar content which can lead to increased risk for tooth decay.

8. Nail Biting. This is the most commonly found bad habit in children and even adults. When thinking, during stressed times, people tend to put their nails under their teeth

teeth damaged by bad habits

Bad habits Damaging your teeth?

and bite on them continuously. This is an unhygienic habit as all the dirt from the nails will enter your mouth. When you bite on your nails this dirt enters your mouth with your saliva. Also your teeth tend to chip and break when you bite your nails often.

9. White wine. Many people enjoy a glass of wine from time to time whether just relaxing at the end of a long day or with dinner. Most know that red wine can cause staining on teeth so many of us drink white wine. White wine can be just as damaging but in a different way. White wine is extremely acidic and can cause permanent damage to your teeth thru enamel erosion. A good tip is following drinking a glass of white wine rinse out your mouth with water to neutralize and cleanse the acids away. 

 10. Skipping Regular Dental Exams and Cleanings. Even if you brush and floss as recommended, dental plaque and calculus can build up on surface tooth enamel and below the gum line. Periodic dental exams and professional cleanings every 6 months can greatly lower your risk of tooth decay, tooth loss and periodontal disease.