by Dr. Pooneh Ramezani, DDS
Best At Home Teeth Whitening Products:
When it comes to home teeth whitening, you need products that are safe, effective, and easy to use. You may have seen many of the following products or whitening kits on Facebook or Instagram that look really cool but may not be the best option for you due to the following:
- Teeth whitening pens or wands: The gel that goes into these products is very important in efficacy and safety of the product. You need to make sure that the whitening gel works. Read the ingredients and judge yourself. If the ingredients have Sodium Bicarbonate or baking soda and no other active ingredients, the chances are these will not work and will cause harm to your enamel. Buyer be aware.
- Whitening strips that adhere to the surface of the teeth: Simply don’t work. Strips are the old way of whitening teeth. Your teeth are 3 dimensional and you need a product that actually whitens all surfaces of your teeth including in between your teeth therefore a strip is not the way to go. Plus conventionally available strips mostly cause pain due to the harsh chemicals they use. So make the right choice.
- Oil pulling with coconut oil: Although coconut oil has some natural teeth whitening properties, it will not help remove tough stains. Oil pulling in most cases doesn’t work to whiten teeth.
- Activated charcoal powder and black charcoal toothpaste: Charcoal is a great ingredient to use as an adsorbent to help get rid of bad breath. It is a better choice than baking soda due to the very fine particles. It is not an ingredient to use by itself to achieve great teeth whitening results. The side effect may be that upon continuous use, you may tattoo your gums black permanently. This is a serious condition since it is irreversible. So avoid using black charcoal toothpaste and powders although trendy and all over the Internet.
- Blue lights that are attached to a tray: Unless the whitening gel has a light activator as part of the ingredients, the blue light is a gimmick and will not work. You need to look at the ingredients in the whitening gel. If it’s only baking soda, ask yourself how is this blue light helping me whiten my teeth faster or better? Baking soda will not break down faster if a blue spectrum of LED light touches it. Even if the ingredients contain bleach or Hydrogen Peroxide you need to make sure there is a light activator such as Ferrous Gluconate present in the formula so that when the LED light actually touches the gel, it makes the gel break down faster and help whiten the teeth faster. If there is no light activator inside the gel, chances are that this product will not work. The light will simply raise the temperature of the Hydrogen Peroxide which doesn’t do anything to the efficacy of the whitening gel.
What to look for in a home teeth whitening product:
- Ease of use: It needs to be fast, easy, and whiten your 3 dimensional tooth in all surfaces even in between the teeth.
- Effectiveness: Read the ingredients of the gel, you need food-grade, safe Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide in order to achieve whitening results similar to what you get at a dental office. Don’t waste your hard earned money on products that don’t work.
- The delivery method needs to work and be effective: Strips will not work due to the above reasons, pens or wands will not work if they have a brush tip and you brush the gel over the enamel. If you are using a pen, you need a silicone rubber tip with little fingers so that you can actually push the gel inside your enamel tubules. Also since silicone is flexible, you are able to whiten hard to reach areas and in between teeth very effectively.
- Minimum sensitivity: You can’t use a product that causes pain and sensitivity. You should avoid whitening products with harsh chemicals such as PG or PEG (propylene glycol or propylene ethyl glycol). These chemicals normally cause pain and sensitivity of the teeth and gums.
- Results that are comparable to professional teeth whitening: After you have found the right whitening gel and delivery method, you need to keep up with your teeth whitening. You will not get cured by whitening your teeth once and forgetting about it. As you eat and drink colored food, you need to maintain your teeth whitening by continuing to use a safe and effective product all the time as part of your oral hygiene routine.
You also need to invest in a mild, safe, and plant-based whitening toothpaste and mouthwash to use all the time to maintain your whitening effects. The mouthwash of choice should not have harsh chemicals but have ingredients found in nature that help maintain your beautiful white smile including coconut oil, aloe vera, some activated charcoal in very fine particles. These products should not contain any sulfates such as SLS, alcohol and artificial flavors and colors. There’s nothing better than a white, confident smile. Find the best products and whiten your teeth safely.
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