10 Common Myths About Teeth Whitening

10 common myths about teeth whitening
05 Mar 2021

Although teeth whitening has made many advances, some people are still unsure if it is safe or effective. However, when it comes to cosmetic dentistry care Guelph patients choose, it is one of the most affordable ways to brighten a dingy smile. The secret lies in how the “bleaching” treatments are applied and the number of active ingredients the treatment contains. 

If you are not sure teeth whitening is right for you, here are ten common myths we’ve debunked about this smile-enhancing treatment.

1. I can’t use teeth whitening products because I have sensitive teeth

First, we will be honest and say that some teeth whitening products can aggravate tooth sensitivity. However, there are many things related to the sensitivity potentially caused by teeth whitening treatments, including:

  • The strength of the whitening solution or gel applied.
  • How the whitening solution is applied
  • How long the whitening solution remains on the teeth
  • Whether you have experienced prior sensitivity issues

It is important to keep in mind that dentists apply desensitizing gel or use rubber gum guards to protect gums during the whitening procedure. We can discuss tooth sensitivity, look for solutions to help reduce sensitivity and determine the best whitening treatment to suit your needs.

2. Teeth whitening solutions damage tooth enamel

Again, this can be true, but it’s not unavoidable. It all goes back to the solution used, how it is applied and how long it is left on your teeth. Some concentrations can cause erosion if misapplied. So in most cases, issues arise because you leave the product on too long or use it too many times. 

Following product instructions is extremely important for teeth whitening because, as with any over-the-counter treatment, be it for dental or medical purposes, products can cause adverse reactions/results when not used properly. 

Excessive application, overuse or taking too much of something for longer than recommended is never wise. If you follow the steps without fail, you reduce the risks of experiencing adverse reactions. 

However, we recommend you discuss whitening products with our team so we can make recommendations based on your dental health. What’s more, you will always see better results when you receive treatment applied by a dentist using professional-strength whitening products.

3. Teeth whitening lasts forever

If only this were true. Unfortunately, all the things that cause teeth to yellow in the first place, such as the pleasures of staining beverages and foods or smoking, will inevitably lead to further staining following the use of whitening products. This, combined with age, ultimately leads to discolouration of the teeth. 

So to keep that brilliant new smile, you need to continue to receive whitening treatments as the dentin layer underneath the enamel darkens over time. With professional whitening treatments as part of the cosmetic dental care Guelph dentists offer, touch-ups are fast and easy and can keep your teeth sparkling. Custom whitening trays are often worth the small investment to meet your whitening needs.

4. Whitening removes stains from dental restorations

Unfortunately, this is also not true. If you have visible restorations or cosmetic treatments such as porcelain crowns or veneers, teeth whitening products won’t work. The good news is porcelain tends to be pretty stain-resistant, so if you are considering the cosmetic dental care Guelph dentists offer, you can whiten first and then we can match your new cosmetic veneers, crowns, etc., once you reach the desired, or whitest tone possible. If you already have visible restorations, the only solution is to replace them after whitening so we can match the tone of your whitened teeth.

5. Over-the-counter whitening products work as well as your dentist’s

This is not the case, and here’s why: it all boils down to the active ingredients. We have access to far more effective whitening formulas containing higher concentrations of the active ingredients required to bleach teeth. 

You can search through all the whitening toothpaste, mouthwashes, gum, strips and more, and you will never see the same results, or get results as quickly as the treatment we provide. Having your teeth professionally whitened reduces the chances of home whitening mishaps such as mismatched colour with restorations or “tiger stripes” from uneven application.

6. Natural fruit whitening methods are best

There are some “natural” whitening methods that do work to improve whiteness and far more that are simply untrue. For example, strawberries are used by many people as a whitening solution. The reason this can work is that the fruit acids penetrate the enamel. The problem is, those acids often do more harm than good, especially if you use this method over time. You can’t “regrow” tooth enamel, so the damage done by using lemons or strawberries is irreparable.

7. Coconut oil works as a natural tooth whitener

This is one of those fallacies we mentioned above. Many believe that they can swish coconut oil around in their mouth to whiten their teeth. Known as “pulling,” some say the coconut oil will pull away stains and bacteria. However, there is no evidence this is the case.

8. If your teeth aren’t white, they aren’t healthy

This seems like it should be true, but it’s not. People have different tones of teeth colour containing everything from hues of browns and yellows to greys. Honestly, very few people have naturally white teeth, at least to the level of brilliant white people are looking for today.

9. You can buy hydrogen peroxide to use as a whitening solution

This is a resounding no! People try this because hydrogen peroxide is often the active ingredient required to whiten teeth. However, it gets back to the whole idea of the concentration. If you apply 100% hydrogen peroxide to your teeth, it creates free radicals that damage tissue. It’s just too high a concentration to be applied safely. 

10. Active charcoal is a safe and natural teeth whitening product

Active charcoal is often featured on social media as the ultimate in natural teeth whitening methods. However, just like fruit, use it too often and it causes tooth erosion.

If you would like more information about safe, effective teeth whitening treatments, call Guelph Family Dentistry at (519) 265-5115 or contact us here.

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Dr. Omar Al-Azzawi
Dr. Omar Al-Azzawi

Dr. Omar got his BDS degree in 2002 from the University of Baghdad. He has also completed a master degree in Prosthetic Dentistry from the University of Malaya, Malaysia in 2009. Dr. Omar got his DDS in 2013 in Canada after passing the National Dental Examination Board of Canada (NDEB) exams. Read More

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