The teeth whitening market can be very overwhelming and with social media feeds filling our days with images of the perfect smile, the pressure to have the perfect set of pearly whites is very much present. Understanding all the types of whitening products is really important before you commit to any given one. Some products might well seem great on the surface, but when you take a closer look they may leave much to be desired. Here’s a closer look at teeth whitening Macleod.
Why are we so obsessed with whiter smiles?
We’ve been out to get that bright white smile for thousands of years, with research showing that our Egyptian ancestors over 4,000 years ago were grinding up pumice stone to mix with white vinegar in order to create a whiten paste.
Over the centuries white teeth have become a mark of status in the same way that good skin and shiny hair has, but as we move towards a more inclusive society we see that good dental health should be available to everyone.
Why do teeth discolour and stain?
There are two key players in the colour change of teeth.
First up is age. As we get older we naturally lose enamel density and strength on our teeth and as this thins out the yellow layer of our teeth called dentine begins to show through. This isn’t really avoidable, however there are things we can do to help protect our natural enamel layer, such as avoiding eating an acid and sugar diet and including fluoride where we can.
Second up is tannins. So tannins are the staying product found in food and drink, they are particularly high in tea, coffee, wine, spices and fruit, all things we like to consume lots of. When we consume lots of high tannin foods and drinks regularly they are going to naturally cause staining on the teeth.
What can we do?
When looking into lightening teeth you’re going to notice two main categories: professional and non-professional.
Professional whitening is what most dentists would recommend as the products used will be regulated and tested. They’ll usually use a whitening gel or paste either on its own or with a light system. These procedures usually happen over a couple of weeks where patients have moulds taken of their teeth for the products to be applied with. The results vary patient to patient, but some people get up to six or seven shades lighter in just one treatment.
Non-professional whitening is a little more complex to manoeuvre in that the regulation is seriously precarious. Sure if you’re buying the big brands you know you’re pretty secure, but what is very common now are small online brands claiming to whiten teeth which actually aren’t. They often contain harsh chemicals that just aren’t good to use on teeth. They break down the natural enamel layers leaving the teeth exposed to damage.
Food for thought
If you or a loved one is thinking about teeth whitening then it’s always best to consult your dentist first. Your teeth are precious and putting anything on them that could cause them harm isn’t worth the drama and potential dental bill.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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