Whiter teeth can make your smile look more youthful and enhance your facial appearance. But in some cases, teeth whitening attempts can do more harm than good.
1. Gum Disease and Cavities
If your gums bleed or are inflamed or irritated, teeth whitening will make matters worse. The bleaching agent will further irritate your gums and cause pain. Gum disease needs to be treated and controlled before bleaching your teeth. Also, bleaching gel will penetrate through cavities and increase sensitivity in your teeth.
2. Challenges of Charcoal for Whitening Teeth
Researchers at the Creighton University School of Dentistry concluded that charcoal toothpaste is harsh on tooth enamel and can cause premature wearing and tooth decay. Laboratory students observed that charcoal toothpaste caused discoloration and made teeth look yellow or gray.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide Hype
Hydrogen peroxide can whiten teeth, but it can be harmful to your oral health. Some people are tempted to purchase the most potent solution available to brighten their teeth. Studies show that high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can burn your gums and oral tissue and break down tooth enamel. And if you ingest high-powered peroxide, it releases dangerous levels of oxygen in your bloodstream.
Long-term use of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (low strength) can kill beneficial microbes in your mouth and cause microorganisms, including candida albicans (yeast), to thrive.
What Are the Alternatives?
If in-office whitening from your dentist isn’t within your budget, consider the following alternatives:
- Take-home whitening from your dentist is effective.
- Keep your dental exam and cleaning appointments. Often, your dental hygienist can get tough surface stains off your teeth.
- Limit things that cause tooth stains, including smoking and drinking coffee, soda, wine, and dark juices.
- Ask your dentist how whitening treatment can be made affordable for you. Some dentists offer free whitening for patients who keep their exam and cleaning appointments.
This post is sponsored by Miranda Lacy, DDS of Plano, TX.