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How Effective Are Whitening Toothpastes?

If your teeth are not as white as you’d like, you might be considering buying whitening toothpaste. After all, this seems like a simple, affordable way to whiten your teeth before an important event. But does it really work? And if so, how long do you have to wait to see the results? These are some common questions about whitening toothpastes and you should learn the answers before you start shopping for this type of dental product. So here’s what you need to know about whitening toothpastes.

How Whitening Toothpastes Work

What sets whitening toothpastes apart from other types of toothpaste is the ingredients in them that can subtly whiten the surface of the teeth. More specifically, they contain abrasives that can remove stains that are just on the surface of the tooth. This alone can help brighten up the teeth a bit.

In addition, many whitening toothpastes feature chemicals that work hard to whiten the surface of the teeth. For example, sodium lauryl sulfate and carbamide peroxide can help wash away surface stains, while blue covarine can help cover up any yellow stains that keep the teeth from looking their best. Another ingredient in most whitening toothpastes is a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, which is known as a bleaching agent that can make the surface of the tooth a little whiter.

Most whitening toothpastes also feature polyvinylpyrrolidone, a chemical that can help prevent the teeth from getting stained in the first place. And of course, they have fluoride and other beneficial elements that can reduce the chance of tooth decay and cavities like any other type of toothpaste does. All of these ingredients work together to keep the teeth looking and feeling cleaner and more sparkling white than before.

Short-Term Results to Expect from Whitening Toothpaste

As you can see from the list of powerful ingredients, whitening toothpaste does work for most people. But you might be wondering how long it will take to see results. In general, you have to use the toothpaste daily for at least two weeks to see a difference in your teeth.

This is because it takes about that long to start scrubbing away any discoloration you’ve gotten from certain drinks that stain—such as dark cola, coffee and red wine—before the stains become permanent. Note that for some people, it takes as long as six weeks to see results from whitening toothpaste so don’t give up if you don’t have whiter teeth right away.

Long-Term Results to Look Forward to When You Use Whitening Toothpaste

If you’re happy with the short-term outcome of whitening toothpaste after a few weeks, simply keep using it to continue seeing results. In fact, you should keep using it if you regularly drink beverages that tend to stain the teeth over time. Using whitening toothpaste can keep such drinks from causing your teeth to turn less white and more yellow over the years.

Note that just like any other toothpaste, you’re supposed to use whitening toothpaste two or more times per day—each time you brush. So as long as you use it as directed, you’ll continue to whiten your teeth over time with this toothpaste.

How Your Dentist Can Help Whiten Your Teeth

Keep in mind that whitening toothpaste is only effective to a point. It can remove surface stains, but it won’t do much about any stains that are deeper than that. So if you have any major stains or obvious discoloration you’d like to get rid of, you might need to see a dentist rather than relying on whitening toothpaste to do the job.

Fortunately, most dental offices have at least one way to whiten teeth. One option is in-office bleaching, in which the dentist applies bleaching gel to your teeth and leaves it on for about 20 minutes. You might have to come back a few more times to ensure your teeth are as white as possible with this procedure. Though this does take the most time out of your schedule, it’s typically the most effective way to whiten your teeth.

Another option your dentist might offer is at-home bleaching. If you opt for this treatment, your dentist will make you a custom tray and give you some mild bleaching gel to take home. You then wear the tray on your teeth for around one hour daily for a couple of weeks, during which the teeth become whiter. This treatment is usually less expensive than the in-office option, and it’s convenient for patients who don’t have time to go to the dentist a few times in a row to get the bleaching done there.

If you don’t have the time or money for either procedure, you can use whitening toothpaste for now. As you can see, though it’s not the most effective whitening option, it does work. And it’s especially helpful if you want to keep your teeth looking their best after in-office bleaching and a dental cleaning, as regular use of whitening toothpaste, is great for maintaining whiter teeth.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how to whiten your teeth, come to Your Dental Health Partners today. We’ll let you know what your options are so you can get on the path to having a smile you’ll be proud to show off!


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