Your smile plays a vital role in your confidence and interactions with other people, and it’s no wonder then that most of us are obsessed with having perfectly straight, white teeth. It also doesn’t help that social media is full of attractive people with attractive smiles all trying to sell you the latest whitening gimmick! But what’s really the best way to achieve that bright white smile? And how can you whiten your teeth safely?
Most whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide, a commonly known and used bleaching agent. It is a weak acid with strong oxidising properties, breaking down stains by pulling them apart molecularly. Not used correctly, however, and hydrogen peroxide can have dangerous consequences. Because it is an acid, hydrogen peroxide is corrosive, which can lead to burns on soft tissues (gums, lips, etc) and with repeated incorrect use it can demineralise your teeth to the point where the tooth structures become vulnerable.
So how can we use this agent safely in order to enjoy the benefits of a bright smile?
The best course of action is to see your dentist first before embarking on any whitening regime. Your dentist needs to assess your current oral health in order to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for whitening. If you have untreated fillings or sensitive teeth for example, whitening can be a painful experience. Your dentist can also assess the current shade of your teeth for you and recommend the best course of whitening in order to achieve your goal shade. Dentists use regulated products to whiten teeth to help ensure safe use, but it is also vital to follow all instructions provided.
Influencers & Celebrity Endorsements
Recently people have been turning to whitening products touted online by influencers and celebrities. It is easy to be lured in by the lower price tag and the glowing reviews, but it is important to be aware of the dangers. A lot of these products are unregulated, and the people showcasing them are often paid or benefited to leave a good review. At best, the product may just not work at all. At worst you could be looking at burned gums and damaged teeth, allergic reactions and more.
Cheaper & Safer Alternatives
If you are after a cheaper whitening method, try over-the-counter whitening toothpastes offered at supermarkets and chemists. You likely won’t experience a drastic change in shade as these products only contain mild bleaching properties, but so long as you avoid staining foods/drinks such as red wine, coffee, and turmeric you should achieve a noticeably brighter smile.
It is also important to keep in mind that a lot of those bright white Hollywood smiles we so aspire to achieve are often a result of veneers, not whitening. Teeth are naturally slightly yellow or even slightly blue/grey. Pure white teeth are only really possible by covering them in porcelain. If you are looking to improve the appearance of your smile, arrange a consultation with your dentist to discuss your appearance goals and treatment options.