So you want to flash those pearly whites?
Sure you can get yourself lasered, you can go to your dentist to get bleached, but what about the low tech method: toothpaste.
Dr. Marc Liechtung, a cosmetic dentist and owner of this laser whitening center, says they do have a role. “These products have become an adjunct to in office bleaching. So we tell our patients to go out after bleaching, and get whitening toothpaste.”
In whitening toothpastes, there are two general categories of whiteners—abrasives--the most common one is silica, and anti-tartar agents.
Unlike bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide, which get into the tooth, these superficial whiteners clean surface stains--mostly along the gum line and in between teeth.
They get to stains from things like coffee and smoking.
“People want to get like 7-8 shades lighter they’re not going to do it with just toothpaste,”says Dr. Liechtung.
But Dr. Robert Gerlach, who leads the studies on whitening at crest, says the right whitening toothpaste can make a huge difference. “The before and after images are remarkable; the patient clearly looks remarkably better. But we haven’t affected the underlying tooth color. To do that we have to diffuse peroxide in. So if you don’t have stain on your teeth, we can’t remove that stain.”
Dr. Gerlach says there are innumerable studies to back up the whitening claims. And to add to that, four crest and three Colgate pastes have the ADA seal of approval for whitening.
Dr. Clifford Whall, Director of the ADA Acceptance Program, says, “Our guidelines set specific levels of whiteness that they have to achieve in order to receive our seal.”
That’s not to say other toothpastes with whitening on the label but without the seal don’t whiten…in fact, if they contain silica, for example, they probably do.
“The second thing the whitening toothpaste do, however, is they prevent daily stain accumulation,” states Dr. Gerlach.
The ADA seal adds a layer of guarantee that there is clinical data to back up the claim.
But here’s the beef: there are so many products out there that claim to whiten, and even the crest line has nine product lines of whitening toothpastes.
Which is the best?
That’s hard to say without looking at head to head studies.
Try a product for two weeks yourself and see if there’s a difference…or talk to your dentist.
The dentist from the American Dental Association says you’ll get more whitening from a bleaching agent, like hydrogen peroxide.
Dr. Gerlach says they see as much as 70 to 80 percent reduction in stains just by brushing their teeth.
No, you may not get movie star smiles from whitening toothpaste…but there is a benefit if you use it daily.