Can you explain how teeth whitening works? Probably not – not many people can! But you’re likely familiar with whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, and a number of other whitening products on the market. There are a wide variety of do-it-yourself teeth whitening methods to get the whiter smile you desire and they all work in different ways. Not every method works for everyone – it depends on the results you want and the severity of staining you’re hoping to combat.
There are a lot of over-the-counter whitening kits available today and they vary widely in price as well as the number of applications needed for optimal results and the length of those results. Picking a product or products can become overwhelming very quickly but rest assured, there is an option can fit anyone’s budget and needs.
Kits provide deeper whitening than a whitening toothpaste because of the different methods they employ and higher concentrations of whitening agents. Whitening toothpaste is still a great product and can be used hand-in-hand with the best teeth whitening kits to enhance and extend the results.
Take a look at our 5 simple ways to improve your oral health and whiten your teeth, how they work, and find the one that’s right for you.
5 Simple Tooth Whitening Solutions
- whitening toothpaste
- gel kits
- whitening pens
- LED light kits
- charcoal powder
Everyone is familiar with whitening toothpaste and today almost all toothpaste contains some type of whitening promise. The best teeth whitening toothpaste not only removes surface stains but prevents future staining with each use. Regularly brushing your teeth with these kinds of toothpaste gradually make them whiter and whiter. People with mild staining can benefit a great deal just from toothpaste, but it does not provide the instantaneous results that you may want. Using a whitening toothpaste after another method, like any type of whitening kit, will help to prolong the effects. It is also a very affordable option.
Good whitening toothpaste contains both an abrasive as well as a whitening agent. The whitening agent, typically a small amount of peroxide to dissolve existing stains is combined with a specially formulated abrasives to polish your teeth at the same time. The abrasives scrub stains away and make it more difficult for staining substances to “stick” to your teeth after brushing. Some toothpaste also contains blue covarine. This is a chemical that basically creates an optical illusion making teeth appear less yellow, thus it does not actually contribute to the whitening process. It can be useful if someone needs more immediate whitening.
Teeth Whitening Gel Kits
Whitening strips and trays are the two most common types of gel kits. Strips come out of the packaging coated in specialized whitening gel and are then applied to the teeth. For severe staining, it can take several applications before results are visible as the strips are only left on for a few minutes at a time. Strips should only be applied a few times a day, but they do work very quickly for mild to moderate stains. They are great for people that don’t have time for prolonged treatment.
Some gel trays are pre-packaged with gel and other tray kits come with a syringe to insert the gel into the tray. Trays are left on the teeth for much longer – several hours to as long as overnight. The trays are made to mold to your teeth for the best gel coverage. There will be a separate tray for your top teeth and your bottom teeth.
Whitening gels in these kits also contain peroxide just like whitening toothpaste, but the concentration is higher and exposure significantly longer. This allows the whitening agents to penetrate the teeth more deeply. Though the process is often referred to as “bleaching” the gels do not actually contain bleach. In general, teeth whitening gel kits are effective and safe, but they can sometimes make the teeth more sensitive immediately after use.
Tooth Whitening Pen
A tooth whitening pen kit utilizes a whitening gel with peroxide, just like the previously mentioned strips and trays. Pens were created for increased convenience as they are reusable and fit easily into a purse or bag for on-the-go. After applying the gel using the pen it is left on and you can go about your routine, but must avoid food and drink for about an hour afterward. Many people use whitening pens after their morning coffee or after a glass of wine to quickly and easily remove those fresh stains. They may also be incorporated into your daily dental routine for even better results.
Teeth Whitening LED Light
The fastest, most effective teeth whitening method involves both a whitening agent and a specialized LED (light emitting diode). Originally, this method could only be performed by professionals. Fortunately, you can now purchase convenient over-the-counter kits for effective at-home teeth whitening, though they are not quite as powerful as the system used by dental professionals. Kits come with trays, a whitening agent typically in the form of a gel, and an LED light. These kits are available in various strengths depending on the severity of staining and results desired.
Combining a whitening agent in a tray with exposure to LED light expedites the whitening process, removing the toughest stains with the longest-lasting results. LED lights act as a type of catalyst, which converts carbamide peroxide rapidly into hydrogen peroxide. It encourages the peroxide to penetrate rapidly and deeply into your teeth. This means you do not have to leave the trays on your teeth for hours and you can get back to your day much faster, but with great results.
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Charcoal Tooth Whitening Powder
You might be wondering if all teeth whitening techniques involve peroxide. No, they definitely do not! A newly popular method involves the use of activated charcoal. You might be surprised to know that this is not actually a new method at all, but a resurgence of an ancient method. Documentation of the use of activated charcoal for oral care goes back centuries.
The extremely porous quality and absorbent nature of charcoal particles cause other particles to be rapidly absorbed into it – this includes the particles that cause stains on your teeth and bad breath odors. In addition, charcoal is an abrasive substance, so it loosens the stains before absorbing them. Charcoal powder kits come with a finely-grained, black powder that also consists of coconut shells and olive pits. Kits usually include special, very soft toothbrush for use with the powder because it is so abrasive.
The charcoal powder is mixed with water to form a paste then applied to the teeth gently then followed with a rinse. Like toothpaste, the results are not instant and it can take a number of uses. It is easy to incorporate into your dental routine and can be used in conjunction with your regular toothpaste and mouthwash for faster results.
Do you agree with our list or have another tooth whitening solution to add? Join the discussion and let us know in the comments below what you think…
Disclaimer – This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about orthodontics and general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your orthodontist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.
5 Simple Teeth Whitening Solutions for a Brighter Smile
Perry heads up a dynamic marketing team that has help the leading orthodontic practices in the USA 10X their business for over a decade. He’s a tea connoisseur, avid reader, traveling and grower of exotic fruits in his permaculture food forest.