Whitening Toothpaste: Good or Bad?
by Angela Tsakanikas, RDH, Dentistry of the Carolinas
Prominently displayed in the middle of the endless collection of toothpaste choices we seem to have these days are those brands which promise to make your pearly whites sparkle and gleam like never before – whitening toothpastes. Sounds like a good idea right? Couldn’t hurt to turn daily brushing into a power whitening experience too could it? Actually, it could – especially when you do a little investigating into what turns a regular toothpaste into a whitening toothpaste. It’s something called carbamide peroxide along with some type of abrasive agent like silica.
It’s the silica we’re concerned with. Yes, it can be effective at rubbing off surface stains, but can also potentially remove precious tooth enamel with long-term daily use. As a hygienist I do not recommend any whitening toothpaste be the sole choice of any individual concerned with proper and safe dental care. Like most things – moderation is key. Unfortunately, I find patients who use whitening toothpastes use them almost exclusively.
My recommendation for whitening toothpastes is to use them only a week or two before a special event like a wedding or other big party when you want a little extra sparkle in your smile or a boost removing superficial stains. Of course, always use a good quality, name brand soft bristle toothbrush and select toothpastes with fluoride that have been approved by the American Dental Association. The truth is, the best route to whiter teeth is consistent daily brushing and flossing, and regular checkups with your favorite Dentistry of the Carolinas dentist.