The search for whiter teeth has been going on for thousands of years. In ancient Egypt, people used wine vinegar and ground pumice stone to create a paste that whitened teeth. Ancient Romans used urine to whiten their teeth before realizing it was the ammonia that acted as a whitening agent. Before modern dentistry, barbers used to tend to dental matters, including whitening by filing teeth with metal files followed by nitric acid. Yikes!
Today it’s easier to help your teeth look their best with professional dental whitening and whitening toothpaste.
While there are different whitening ingredients depending on the toothpaste brand, let’s have a look at the main ingredients that help whiten teeth.
Mild Abrasives Act as Scrubbing Agents
Virtually all toothpaste includes some kind of mild abrasive. The type of scrubbing agent used varies but all aid in helping remove stains on the surface of teeth that cause yellowing. Some whitening toothpaste relies on sodium bicarbonate (or baking soda) the help scrub teeth. Baking soda is a mild abrasive to help clean teeth, neutralize mouth acids, and freshen breath and will help remove teeth stains after about four weeks of use.
Brightening Your Teeth with a Small Amount of Peroxide
Most teeth whitening toothpaste use a chemical agent, often hydrogen peroxide, to aid in brightening teeth. The amount included is so small that the American Dental Association (ADA) has approved it for regular use in toothpastes used by adults. In a low dose amount, hydrogen peroxide helps bleach stains on the enamel of teeth but can cause sensitivity to teeth and gums.
Carbamide Peroxide is another safe, whitening agent used in toothpastes. Basically, carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide when used in toothpaste. The ADA found that carbamide peroxide also produces results quicker than hydrogen peroxide in the first two weeks of use. The results were the same between the two chemicals, however, it’s important to note that they found this info after 12 weeks of use.
Homemade Natural Whitening
Some people prefer natural ingredients or to make their own whitening toothpastes. Using a small amount of baking soda (so it’s not gritty) with water to create a paste can help scrub off stain-causing bacteria.
Apple cider vinegar is also believed to have whitening properties when used with baking soda to make the paste. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which can break down bacteria, can also help improve the health of teeth. Natural toothpastes, however, can take some time to offer good results.
Whitening toothpaste, like all other toothpaste, include a list of inactive ingredients. These can include water, flavoring agents, and ingredients to create the paste texture. Flavorings and fluoride are also added to most types of toothpaste.
As you can see, a lot goes into making whitening toothpaste. Be sure to read the labels and, where possible, choose brands that have earned the ADA Seal of Approval. Some ingredients may cause irritation or even trigger an allergic reaction.
For the most professional, long-lasting whitening results, contact us about teeth whitening options! We are here to help you ensure your teeth are healthy and beautiful, in the safest possible way.