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Does Whitening Toothpaste Work?

Posted on August 26, 2021

A white smile gives us confidence. Society has determined that people with pleasant, white smiles appear to be more successful, more intelligent and more attractive. Celebrities and those in the public eye invest in having a beautiful smile. The popularity of whitening toothpaste comes as no surprise. Does whitening toothpaste really work, though? How effective is it?

How Does Whitening Toothpaste Work?

Whitening toothpaste is effective at removing extrinsic stains, or the discoloration which happens on the surface of the teeth. That said, it will not work for intrinsic stains within the teeth.

Most whitening toothpaste has three key ingredients:

  • Abrasive materials: This toothpaste may contain hydrated aluminum oxide, silica, calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate or other special abrasives to polish the exterior of the teeth.
  • Peroxide: Peroxide is a compound that acts as a bleaching agent to break down surface stains.
  • Blue covarine: Blue covarine is a pigment that adheres to the enamel so teeth look less yellow.

How Long Does It Take for Whitening Toothpaste to Work?

You will need to use whitening toothpaste twice a day for two minutes, and it may take between two and six weeks to see results. These toothpastes are safe to use daily for a specific time, which is usually about two months.

Recommended Whitening Toothpastes

Look for an ADA-approved product and make sure you understand how the toothpaste whitens. Abrasive toothpaste can cause tooth sensitivity and added wear on the enamel.

At 209 NYC Dental, we recommend Crest 3D White Brilliance as the best overall whitening toothpaste and Sensodyne Extra Whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Both products offer a degree of whitening without high abrasion levels.

Arm and Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening is the best budget whitening toothpaste we have found, and Tom’s of Maine Antiplaque Natural Whitening is the best natural toothpaste.

Alternatives for Whitening Teeth

While whitening toothpaste does work, the results may not be as dramatic as patients like. For those willing to invest more, there are better options. For example, over-the-counter whitening strips from reputable brands are still inexpensive, but they can provide better results than whitening toothpaste when used according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Custom trays with whitening gel are even more effective than strips because they have a higher concentration of peroxide. With this method, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth to create snugly fitting trays. At home, you can fill the trays with gel and wear them for an hour every day for two weeks.

The Zoom Whitening System offers the best results, with teeth appearing up to six shades whiter in one 90-minute visit to the dentist. This whitening treatment requires a review of your medical history and a checkup and cleaning. Tooth sensitivity may happen after the treatment, so we recommend using Sensodyne toothpaste for one week before your visit. While this treatment costs more than the others listed, 95% of patients say that the results are worth it.

How to Avoid Further Stains

Regardless of the whitening solution you choose, you can get even better results by avoiding the most common stain producers. These include:

  • Coffee.
  • Black tea.
  • Red wine.
  • Blueberries.
  • Beets.
  • Red sauce.
  • Tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco.

Contact 209 NYC Dental for an Appointment

At 209 NYC Dental, we understand you want a smile that is beautiful and healthy. With our focus on prevention and our range of services, we can be your partner in oral care and prevention. We are open seven days a week for your convenience, and our initial consultations are complimentary.

Contact us at 212-355-2290 to schedule an appointment today.

About Dr. Liza Horbar

Meet Dr. Liza Horbar, one of the best prosthodontists in NYC. Dr. Horbar practices at 209 NYC Dental in Midtown East Manhattan, where we have multiple specialists. She received a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University, where she graduated magna cum laude. Dr. Horbar moved to New York to pursue her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, which she received at Columbia University. She continued her studies at Columbia and earned a Master of Science in Prosthodontics in 2019. While she was taking DDS classes, she journeyed to Guatemala with KIDS International Dental Services on a humanitarian mission.

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