Would you love to have whiter teeth? Most people would, so whitening toothpaste seems like the easiest way to get them. But is whitening toothpaste bad and is it permanently damaging your teeth?
Why Does Whitening Toothpaste Damage Your Teeth?
Whitening toothpaste removes extrinsic staining, which are stains on the outside of your teeth caused by tea, coffee, smoking, etc. It cannot change the natural color of the teeth. Many of these toothpastes are abrasive and contain tiny particles which remove this staining by scratching the surface of your enamel. By scratching away the stained layer of tooth, the un-stained layer below is what makes your teeth appear whiter. But with overuse this can remove the natural shine of your teeth and once this enamel has been removed it does not grow back. Over time, loss of enamel can lead to tooth decay.
Are There Any Bad Side Effects Of Whitening Toothpastes?
Teeth can become very sensitive with the use of harsh whitening toothpastes. As the enamel get thinner, the dentine becomes more exposed. Dentine is the layer of tooth under the enamel and it contains lots of tiny tubes (like pores) that run straight through to the nerve in the middle of the tooth. When these tubes become exposed, they can respond to hot and cold temperatures which may be painful. Sensitive toothpastes work by plugging these tubes up so you don’t feel any pain, but whitening toothpastes do the opposite and open them up, leaving you prone to sensitivity.
I Still Want Whiter Teeth, How Can I Minimize The Damage?
If you can’t bear to give up your whitening toothpaste, there are still ways that you can minimize any permanent damage. Only use a gentle whitening toothpaste and use a soft or very soft bristled toothbrush to limit the abrasiveness of the toothpaste. Don’t use a whitening toothpaste every time you brush, instead alternate with a regular toothpaste as well. Try to use a toothpaste which contains fluoride as this can help strengthen the enamel. Visit your dentist regularly to have your teeth checked and cleaned. And remember, any staining that a whitening toothpaste removes can be done by your dentist or hygienist. Your dentist can also recommend other ways for you to whiten your teeth.