There are a lot of ways to whiten your teeth, and a handful of them can even be picked up right at your local drugstore. From simple whitening strips to toothpastes infused with whitening technology to even regular brushing and flossing, it’s not hard to keep your whitening efforts economical. But the best teeth whitening procedures are likely still those performed by licensed dental professionals, not by you.
Consider this newsworthy tale: A recent post from England’s Daily News website revealed that not all home teeth whitening kits are created equal. In fact, some of them aren’t created very well at all. Though they may seem like superior, more cost-friendly options than visiting a professional cosmetic and family dentistry practice, they might just be detrimental to your health.
First, a little bit of background. Most home whitening kits promise the customer whiter, brighter teeth if he or she uses their specialized systems of hydrogen peroxide-filled trays or strips. The idea is to apply the whitening agent directly to the teeth for several minutes (sometimes overnight) in order to achieve a healthy luster. You can usually pick something like this up for anywhere from $10 to $40 inside a supermarket or corner drugstore.
But new studies have shown that the do-it-yourself approach may actually be harming customers more than helping them. When you use a powerful substance like peroxide, it’s essentially at your discretion how much you should be applying to your teeth. If you want to get them whiter, you should simply use more, right? Wrong. Customers are finding out the hard way that overusing the product can lead to myriad health issues including mouth infections, stomach problems and even nerve damage inside the mouth.
Let’s look at it this way. A professional dentist understands the amount of whitener that’s healthy and safe to be used on a patient. He or she has likely undergone teeth whitening courses in order to obtain a mastery in his or her chosen dental field, and this training ensures patients can’t unintentionally abuse the chemicals themselves. But when you remove the dentist, you also remove the safety of the procedure — thereby removing all those safety teeth whitening courses, too.
The most important thing to understand about whitening is that not every person is eligible for it. Those with cavities should avoid it, says professor and dental surgeon Dr. David McFadden (who’s quoted in the article), because of how the peroxide can seek into the root of the tooth via the open holes. You might not even know about these cavities until you’ve had a proper checkup with a dentist.
The only reasonable answer, then, is to leave the teeth whitening to the professionals — those who have completed the proper training and teeth whitening courses. Go see your dentist if you’re thinking about whitening your smile. It’s the only way to completely play it safe.