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Tooth Whitening Myth Busting!

Tooth whitening is a safe way to brighten your smile, it is a minimally invasive approach that can really make a big difference.

Lets clear a few things up shall we…

Only a dental professional can carry out tooth whitening procedures. Your dentist must ‘prescribe’ the tooth whitening treatment and they must also fit the first set of whitening trays demonstrating how to use them.

The General Dental Council who regulate the practise of dentistry state that tooth whitening can only be offered and carried out legally by a registered dental professional. They also state that they will consider all allegations of illegal practice reported to them due to the risk posed to the public. Therefore, please don’t be drawn into online or other types of ‘whitening’ lies, they don’t work and they risk being harmful to your teeth.

Some frequently asked questions around the subject…

  • Does whitening ‘ruin’ the tooth tissue?

In short, no it does not.

If you have the treatment carried out by a dental professional, they will use the correct product that will not harm the natural tooth tissue or weaken it.

  • What about tooth sensitivity when whitening?

We associate anything painful with it being bad, however, this is not the case when it comes to whitening. Sensitivity is due to the chemical reaction that happens with the whitening product (hydrogen or carbamide peroxide) within the tooth tissue - the tooth becomes saturated with oxygen commonly after night three of whitening and this is when you may experience the most sensitivity. Once the course of treatment is complete the sensitivity will settle. There are many desensitising agents available that your dentist can discuss with you if you feel its too much! My teeth are super sensitive and I am currently trying out a new whitening system on the market… I got passed night three and so far so good… WATCH THIS SPACE!

  • Will you have to stop the things you love like coffee and red wine? (or is it just me who lists these high up in the drinks rankings?!):

Whilst whitening it is a good idea to do a slight ‘whitening diet’ i.e. avoid curry, red wine, black tea/coffee.. you know, the good stuff! This helps achieve a quicker result. If, like me, you struggle without your morning coffee drink it through a straw (preferably a reusable one to be kind to our planet) and the addition of milk helps! Same goes for tea, which actually stains more than coffee! And as for the Red wine dilemma…go for White or Rosé whilst whitening?!

  • Topping up:

The result you have achieved will not last forever… look after your whitening trays and you can usually buy a syringe or two of Carbamide Peroxide/Hydrogen Peroxide from your dentist.

  • Toothpastes

Toothpaste will not whiten your teeth. Charcoal toothpastes and ‘whitening’ toothpastes do not have that power, sorry! They can possibly take some surface stains off but they will not give you a lighter shade of teeth and they can be abrasive. To remove surface staining, I would recommend visiting a hygienist especially if they have an ‘airflow’ system as this is a brilliant, pain free and safe way of removing surface stains.

  • Contraindications:

For obvious reasons, you cannot whiten your teeth when pregnant or breast feeding. If you have crowns/veneers/composite bonding then these restorations will not whitening for this reason, you should always discuss the possibility of tooth whitening prior to having these restorations carried out. Any active dental disease must be controlled, I am a broken record with this one. Dentistry is best when we have healthy foundations therefore good gum health and good tooth health. If there are teeth with decay the sensitivity is likely to be much worse, another reason to only allow a dentist to provide you with tooth whitening rather than over the counter or beautician whitening, a thorough examination can be carried out to ensure it is appropriate for you.

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