Ask Dr. D: Do Whitening Toothpastes Work?

Dear Dr. Diesburg:

Do whitening toothpastes really work? At what point is it a better idea just to go with something stronger?


Alice in Dayton

Dear Alice:

All toothpastes are designed to remove surface stains with mild abrasives, but some also contain polishing agents that add to their strength. Whitening toothpaste alone should suffice to remove surface staining, but they do not contain bleach, so if you’re looking for something stronger, your next step should be to use over-the-counter or professional whitening products containing hydrogen peroxide, a type of bleach.

Lightening toothpaste can brighten your teeth by as much as one shade, but they don’t hold a candle to professional grade products, which can lighten them by three to eight shades.

Whitening isn’t for everyone, by the way. If you have a lot of restorations, it might not be the best option. But if you’ve tried out home products and are unsatisfied, we recommend you ask about what we offer in-house at your next dental cleaning. In office whitening results are dramatic. Once you’ve whitenened, you can avoid causing your teeth to discolor again by avoiding foods such as coffee and wine, which stain the teeth.

Happy brushing!

Dr. Adam Diesburg, Your McMinnville Dentist

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