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Ethos dental in Ringwood cares about its patients. Thats why when we see or think of something that we feel that our patients need to know about, we put our pen to paper and start writing. This is a blog on all things dental, be it dental hygiene, cosmetic dentistry ideas or just plain good habits!

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Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products – Do They Really Work?

October 30, 2018 cosmetic dentistry

The short answer is No.

Generally, all DIY products will come with some form of risk, whether it be health risk or durability issues. There is no certainty regarding their effectiveness, and how much damage they can cause you in the long run. If you spend a little extra and go to your dentist for a professional tooth whitening kit, you will have guaranteed results. You will also not put yourself and your teeth in risk, as the products provided by your dentist are 100% safe and approved by Therapeutic Goods Administration*.
Products on the TGA List means they meet Australian standards of quality, safety and efficacy.

Let’s break down the different types of products and why they don’t work.

Whitening Toothpaste

Studies have found that whitening toothpastes which contain abrasives and whitening agents do not outperform an ordinary toothpaste in the removal of extrinsic staining. In some cases, it is abrasive enough to cause long-term damage to your teeth. The whitening agents are often not strong enough or get washed out too quickly to be effective.

Whitening Strips

Strips are one-dimensional, but your teeth are three-dimensional. Strips usually come in just a regular rectangular shape and cannot fit around the curves and spaces between your teeth, thus causing the whitening effect to come out uneven and spotty. Whitening strips also can contain harmful ingredients that are not TGA Approved which can damage the enamel and gum, resulting in sensitivity and pain.

Take-home Mouthguard and Gel with LED Light

Firstly, these over-the-counter products are not approved by the TGA, and are therefore not regulated and have not been tested to see if they are up to the standards for Australian consumers. They mostly desiccate the teeth, leaving a frosty white appearance for the short-term. However, when the teeth are rehydrated (naturally), the whitening effects will disappear within days.
Those take-home generic mouth guards will not mould to your teeth with precision. Like the whitening strips, they are not accurate enough and can cause uneven whitening, and even damage the gum and teeth. There has also been no evidence or studies that support the use of LED light for whitening teeth.

Tips for Whiter Teeth:

1. Rinse your mouth with water after drinking wine, coffee, or soft drinks
2. Stop smoking
3. Brush your teeth twice per day
4. Schedule regular dental cleanings

The safest way to achieve stain removal is through a professional dental cleaning in a dentist’s office. Professional teeth whitening services offered by your dentist can truly change the colour of your enamel

* Therapeutic Goods Administration: The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is part of the Australian Government Department of Health, and is responsible for regulating therapeutic goods including prescription medicines, vaccines, sunscreens, vitamins and minerals, medical devices, blood and blood products.