Do you find yourself dreaming of a brighter, whiter smile? Maybe your teeth have darkened with age or they’re stained from drinking coffee. A glimpse in the mirror is usually all it takes to realize you’re interested in whitening your teeth.
Should you go to the drug store and buy an at-home teeth whitening kit? Or try your hand at DIY remedies like baking soda and hydrogen peroxide? The internet is full of information about teeth whitening, so it can feel difficult to know which route you should take.
As a health and wellness clinic with a team of experienced dentists, we believe it's always important for our patients to understand the facts. Busting common myths about teeth whitening can help you set the gimmicky information aside and find real, trustworthy methods to achieve the smile of your dreams!
We sat down with HealthOne Dentist, Dr. Yasmin Vakilian, to get her expert knowledge on the teeth whitening myths she hears most often. Put down the charcoal toothpaste and get ready to take some notes!
Myth #1: White Teeth Are Healthy Teeth
The first myth is an important one because it focuses on your health. Oral hygiene should always be top of mind when it comes to whitening your teeth. “Just because teeth are white and shiny doesn’t mean they’re healthy on the inside,” Dr. Vakilian says. “On the contrary, dark or discoloured teeth aren’t necessarily unhealthy or decayed.”
She shares that a lot of patients have unrealistic expectations of what they want their smile to look like. They might expect that their teeth will be “blinding white” after treatment, for example. The reality is that whitening your teeth too much can actually be dangerous. A whiter smile can definitely be achieved, but doing it in a healthy way should always be the goal.
Myth #2: Household Products Can Whiten Your Teeth
You’ve likely heard that certain household products are the ticket to a winning smile. Fruits, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are some of the home remedies that people claim can have bleaching abilities. But what do the experts say?
"We’re living in a world of DIY, but when it comes to your teeth and the health of your teeth, DIY isn’t a great option,” Dr. Vakilian says. This is because there is very little evidence available to prove that any of these methods actually work.
And in studies that have been conducted – such as a study from the National Library of Medicine on the effectiveness of strawberries and baking powder on surface stains – the results are essentially non-existent. The bottom line? Use household items for their intended use, and visit a dentist if you want whiter teeth.
Myth #3: Over-The-Counter and Professional Products Work the Same
There are a lot of people who swear by using over-the-counter teeth whitening products. They claim that products from your local drug store are the best whitening solution out there – maybe you’ve even tried them yourself!
It’s important to understand, however, that teeth whitening products aren’t created equal. Popular over the counter products like toothpaste, rinses, and whitening strips are convenient but can run serious risks that are crucial to consider.
“DIY teeth whitening kits can damage your teeth in an irreversible way, so it ends up being a double-edged sword,” Yasmin warns. “Many options on the market these days can also be purchased for lower prices, but it’s important to remember they can be detrimental to the health of your teeth.”
Many people tend to overuse these products which can cause that irreversible damage. This is why it’s important to visit an experienced dentist if you plan on whitening your teeth. They’ll give you trusted, high-quality products – the best and safest available for teeth bleaching – and educate you on how to use them correctly.
Learn more about the differences between at-home and professional teeth whitening here.
Myth #4: Teeth Whitening Damages Your Enamel
Enamel is a thin layer of hard tissue that covers and protects your teeth. You may have heard that certain things can damage it such as overbrushing your teeth, sugary drinks, and acidic foods like citrus fruits. But does the same apply for whitening products? According to Yasmin, the answer is no.
“Experts say this is not true. The whitening agents used by the dentist have very special safety certifications that come with them,” she explains.
As long as you’re using professional whitening products the way your dentist recommended, enamel damage isn’t something you should be worried about. If you have de-mineralized enamel, however, there’s a possibility that you might not be a good candidate for teeth whitening treatments. This is why you should always have a consultation with your dentist as a first step.
We explored more about the world of professional teeth whitening in this blog post.
Myth #5: Teeth Whitening Is for Everyone
The last myth might surprise you, and that’s that everyone is a good candidate for teeth whitening. Just because you want a whiter smile doesn’t mean you’re an ideal patient for treatment.
Dr. Vakilian explains that there are a number of factors to consider before you begin:
- Age. Teeth whitening is not suited for anyone under the age of 16 since their bodies (and enamel) are still growing.
- Oral health. Patients may not be a good candidate if they have periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, cavities, exposed roots, or highly sensitive teeth.
- Unrealistic expectations. Remember – whitening won’t necessarily give you blinding, pearly white teeth all the time. Dr. Vakilian reminds patients that they should keep their expectations realistic if they plan on undergoing treatment.
Aside from these factors, people with healthy teeth and gums should definitely consider treatment if it’s of interest to them! The safest and most effective method is always the professional route. Now that we’ve debunked 5 common myths, let’s explore a bit more about what exactly professional teeth whitening has to offer.
Teeth Whitening Kit
At HealthOne, we offer customized teeth whitening kits that you can use from the comfort of home. Your kit will contain trays for your top and bottom teeth that we create after taking a mould of your teeth at the clinic. In addition to the trays, your teeth whitening kit will also contain 2 syringes of gel which will last for 1-2 years’ worth of treatment.
This gel is a much more effective option than the ones you can buy over the counter. “This is because professionals are able to provide stronger and more efficient whitening gels that you can’t find online or at drug stores,” Dr. Vakilian explains. “The product used by our team has 35% carbamide peroxide and is completely safe for patients to use.”
Teeth Whitening At Home
To whiten your teeth at home using your customized kit, you’ll apply a small layer of whitening gel on the inside of each tray. Then, you’ll wear them for 10-15 minutes and thoroughly rinse with water once your time is up.
Dr. Vakilian recommends doing this once a day for no more than 2 weeks in a row. Once those 2 weeks are up, you should take a break from whitening your teeth for a few months to avoid any damage. This is an ideal length for treatment because it allows you to whiten your teeth before a big event or special day! The results from your treatment can last anywhere from 2-6 months.
Teeth Whitening Toronto
We also offer in-clinic teeth whitening at our dental clinic in Toronto! This method is just as safe and effective as the at-home route. Choosing the right one for you all comes down to personal preference.
In both cases, the first thing we recommend is a dental examination with a professional like Dr. Vakilian. She’ll assess all aspects of your oral hygiene to make sure you’re a good candidate for whitening. If you have a lot of plaque and tartar, for example, she’ll likely recommend a hygiene appointment prior to whitening. Once you’re given the green light, you can go ahead with your teeth whitening treatment!
Our #1 priority is always patient care. We want to help you achieve a brighter, whiter smile in the safest possible way. We’re always here for our patients to provide expert advice and guidance on their journey. When you look your best, you feel your best – and that’s what inspired living is all about!
Click here to book a dental examination at HealthOne.
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