High-street shops are full of teeth whitening products and kits which claim to make your teeth whiter, but how effective are they? We spoke to Karim Abdel-Khalek, a Bupa Dental Care dentist at Clifton, Bristol, to find out the answers.
1. Can over-the-counter teeth whitening kits whiten your teeth effectively?
There are many teeth whitening kits available over the counter, including toothpastes, strips, paint-on kits, and laser whitening kits. However, in-line with EU regulations, these kits contain no more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide1, the chemical agent used to bleach the teeth. This is significantly lower than the amount required to effectively whiten teeth. So, although whitening kits may provide some whitening effect, these are often very short term.
2. Are over-the-counter teeth whitening kits safe to use?
Fortunately, in the UK, teeth whitening kits found in high-street shops can be considered safe, as they have met all EU regulations and laws.
3. Do whitening toothpastes have any effect?
Some whitening effect can be seen from whitening toothpastes that contain abrasives, which remove surface stains. However, the abrasives in these toothpastes can also remove enamel in addition to surface staining. Thinning of the enamel leads to a greater show-through of dentine (the tissue which sits below the top hard surface of your teeth) which is yellow in nature. Therefore, overuse of whitening toothpastes may make your teeth more yellow in the long term!