Should We Frown at Teeth Bleaching?
We know that many of you are busily whitening your smiles in preparation for the series of photos that come with the holidays.
Whether it’s before Thanksgiving dinner or gathering around the Christmas tree, there seem to be some photos each year that we can’t avoid. If you’re looking to whiten your teeth to make sure your smile stands out (in a good way), there are many teeth whitening options and methods available!
But first, it is important to understand how our teeth get colored. A tooth’s color is created by the way light is reflected off its surface. The denser your enamel is packed, the whiter your teeth appear because more light reflects off this surface. Enamel becomes thin and weak when you submit it to acidic conditions. A thin enamel allows dentin to show through, which gives your teeth that yellow or brown appearance.
Acidic drinks like sodas are partially to blame for weak enamel. When you eat or drink dark substances like coffee, these can stain your teeth. If you have strong enamel, dark drinks aren’t likely to make any changes, but weak enamel is very susceptible to stains!
Consult your dentist when it comes to bleaching products. Bleaching products in the U.S. often contain 35% hydrogen peroxide, but a 2012 study showed that a concentration of peroxide this high can cause long term effects in tooth enamel. Enamel whitened with this amount of peroxide had a loss of strength and phosphate content.
Everyone wants white teeth, but be wary of the potential consequences. Products with more than 6% hydrogen peroxide are illegal in the UK, even in dental use. Enamel strengthening toothpastes usually only have a temporary benefit of 7-14 days, with tooth weakness returning shortly thereafter. As always, be careful and consult your dentist!