by Dr. Pooneh Ramezani, DDS
What to look for in a whitening toothpaste
As a dentist I regularly get asked what is the BEST whitening toothpaste I can use. And now that more people are starting to look into natural products, my patients are seeking whitening toothpastes with natural and organic ingredients more frequently.
Here are my recommended ingredients to look for in a safe and effective whitening toothpaste in 2019 and going into 2020:
- Look for NO peroxide in the toothpaste. Peroxide, although safe in whitening products, should be avoided in daily toothpaste. If you brush your teeth at least twice a day, everyday (as you should), peroxide may be too harsh on your enamel. Plus, it usually needs to have chemicals added to make it more stable on stores’ shelves.
- Avoid products that are labeled as: EXTRA WHITENING, TARTAR CONTROL, OPTIC WHITE, TOTAL WHITE, ADVANCED WHITENING. These conventional toothpastes normally have harsh ingredients that could cause thinning of the enamel. These phrases are simply used to market these products and have no validity.
- Look to see which ingredient is contributing to the whitening factor. We love natural, plant-based ingredients that are proven to help whiten teeth without any harsh side effects. Ingredients such as organic coconut oil, activated charcoal (not as the main ingredient) and lemon oil are great examples.
- Avoid charcoal toothpastes and charcoal powders in your mouth that are black. They could cause permanent staining, called "tattooing", of your gums and oral mucosa. Plus, recent studies have shown that the popular black tooth powders can have too much abrasiveness and can actually cause thinning of the enamel.
- Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) should be avoided in a toothpaste. This ingredient, even though natural, is very coarse and could cause thinning of the enamel like charcoal powders.
- PG (propylene glycol) and PEG (polyethylene glycol) are present in many conventional toothpastes and mouthwashes. They are harsh chemicals and are considered skin irritants and you can even find PG in the antifreeze of the cars! These ingredients could cause severe sensitivity of the teeth and gums. Long-term use could be dangerous to your health.
- Triclosan was banned by the FDA for use in antibacterial hand soaps in 2017. Remarkably, it is still present in many conventional whitening toothpastes. This is a very harsh chemical that could cause health issues and pain and sensitivity in the mouth.
Also, remember not to brush hard just because you believe you'll get whiter teeth faster and want to remove stains more effectively.
Brushing with a medium or hard bristle toothbrush causes recession of your gums and ultimately sensitivity and pain. Remember, it’s not the harder you brush, the better, it's how you brush and how much time you spend brushing.
2 minutes, at least twice a day using a soft bristle toothbrush is ideal.
A great tip to have whiter teeth naturally is to rinse your mouth with water after consuming colored foods and drinks. Simply swish some water around for 30 seconds and spit.
Always use a sonic toothbrush with a whitening mode and a safe, whitening toothpaste with natural and organic ingredients to gently and safely remove stains off your teeth.
I hope I was able to shed some light on what you should use to whiten your teeth effectively and safely. There is nothing better than a confident smile.
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