What Whitening Products Work?

Teeth Whitening

There are a lot of toothpastes out there and a lot of ingredient variety, but at least you can count on there being a few main ingredients: an abrasive for scraping teeth clean, a detergent to foam the paste up and let you know it’s working, flavors to cut through the bad taste of the detergent, and probably fluoride to recrystallize enamel and keep your teeth protected from the damage done by plaque-causing bacteria.

But while the government regulates toothpaste as a health product, tooth whitening kits don’t get the same level of oversight. Much like how health supplements start out with basic multivitamins but go on to include plant extracts and beauty products can include a lot of dubious claims and strange ingredients, teeth whiteners can include chemicals with guaranteed results and a lot of all-natural ingredients that are mostly there to sound good.

For any tooth care product, you should first look for the ADA seal of approval. The American Dental Association isn’t a government organization, so products and companies don’t have to get their approval, but having that square seal on the packaging is a way the product can guarantee that it does what it says and does it well enough to pass lab tests and satisfy a panel of experts. It’s completely possible that a product without the seal can do what it promises, but it’s hard to say for certain without it.

What to look for?

Tooth bleaching products don’t often come with the ADA seal, so the second best thing you can do is check the ingredient list for a bleaching chemical. Hydrogen peroxide and several related chemicals (mostly carbamide peroxide) are popular since they’re safe enough to put on your teeth, and while they can cause sensitivity in teeth and gums that sensitivity goes away faster than the whiteness does. Bleaching products can contain other chemicals, compounds, and natural ingredients, but peroxide is the key ingredient and the ADA has said a product with 10 percent carbamide peroxide is the most effective balance.

Then again, you can always go to your local dentist’s office for professional teeth whitening. Dentists can use stronger bleaching products since you’re in an expert’s care, plus a custom-made tray will keep the peroxide off your gums. So before you decide to try something from the teeth whitening section, think about whether it might be worth your time to get a professional’s touch.

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity And What To Do About It

Tooth sensitivity makes it hard to eat certain foods, and it’s often a sign of bigger problems. When you eat or drink something cold or hot, like a cup of coffee or a bowl of ice cream, you might feel some pain thanks to a burned tongue or a cold headache. What you shouldn’t feel is a spike of pain coming from one or more of your teeth.

One major cause of tooth sensitivity is dental treatments, and teeth bleaching is a common culprit. If that’s the case, you don’t need to worry: your teeth will go back to normal within a few hours.

But then there’s the problem of enamel erosion. Enamel protects the dentin and pulp layers underneath it from hot and cold temperatures, and if your tooth is sensitive that can mean your enamel is wearing thin.

There are several different reasons this can happen:

• Tooth decay and cavities are so common that almost everyone on the planet has had at least once.

• Enamel never grows back, so after years and decades of acidic drinks and sugary foods the enamel on all your teeth will become thinner and your teeth more sensitive.

• Grinding your teeth will slowly wear them down.

• If you use a hard brush with gritty toothpaste, it can wear down your enamel.

The other major cause is gum recession. Usually caused by infections, gum recession can leave your tooth root exposed, and your roots don’t have a protective layer of enamel.

Since sensitive teeth are always a symptom of something else, the cure depends on the cause. If the problem is regular tooth decay, the solution can be as simple as a cavity filling. In the case that your gums are receding, you might be able to fix the problem with a graft. If the real trouble is that your teeth are getting old, you may be able to treat it using a desensitizing toothpaste that numbs the nerve endings in your mouth.

You may feel a shooting pain coming from your tooth that’s a sign that something in your mouth needs to change. Unless the sensitivity goes away on its own and doesn’t come back, you should see your dentist soon to figure out what’s causing it and what you can do to make things better.