Are you intrigued by how teeth whitening products are able to whiten your teeth?
Every tooth whitening product on the market uses the same science to whiten your teeth. Knowledge of this science may help you decide whether or not to buy a specific tooth whitening product or whether or not to whiten your teeth at home by yourself or professionally at the dentist.
So how do your teeth get stained in the first place?
Your teeth have pores just like your skin! When your teeth come into contact with staining foods, beverages or tobacco, the highly pigmented molecules seep into the pores of your teeth, becoming trapped inside the structure of your teeth. The larger the pigmented molecules are the more stained and darker your teeth appear. Overtime and with ageing, these stains accumulate and become very hard to remove with just brushing and flossing and require higher grade teeth whitening products to help rid the teeth of the stubborn stains!
So how are teeth whitening products able to get rid of these stubborn stains?
Teeth whitening products use a gel consistency so that the formula can seep into the pores of your teeth. This formula often contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which are bleaching agents that are able to lighten the shade of your teeth.
Once the peroxide penetrates the pores a reaction called oxidation happens. This reaction breaks down the stains inside the pores of your enamel and pushes them out, bringing your teeth back to their natural shade, or even whiter!
Do whitening toothpastes work the same way?
Unlike tooth whitening gels that can travel deep into the structure and pores of teeth, whitening toothpastes can only remove minor surface stains. This is possible because of how abrasive their formula is compared to regular toothpastes!
Using whitening toothpastes helps “scrub” off any recent stains and prevent them from building up. This is also why your dentist may recommend you to avoid whitening toothpaste formulas if you have sensitive teeth. Even though the abrasion can help scrub off minor stains, over long term use this can scrub away your enamel which is responsible for protection of your teeth and keeping your teeth strong. Without strong enamel your teeth can become weak and easily irritated, creating sensitivity!