How to whiten teeth at home
Whitening at the dentist is expensive, unpleasant, and for many, just scary because of childhood memories of going to the doctor. Because of this, people try to make a beautiful smile at home. We figure out how to properly make your teeth whiter on your own, effectively and without consequences.
Table of Contents
Inexpensive teeth whitening is folk recipes. All methods are divided into three groups: powders, acids and peroxides.
How folk remedies work:
- Soda, activated charcoal – mechanically remove plaque, which makes it seem that the teeth have become whiter. In fact, they scratch and remove part of the enamel.
- Citric acid, vinegar – acids corrode plaque, so the teeth become lighter than they were. But they can easily get a gum burn, and the enamel will become thinner under the action of acids.
- Hydrogen peroxide is the only folk remedy that works like professional ones: it destroys pigment substances inside the tooth. In this case, mineral substances are washed out, which cannot be restored in any way. The tooth becomes brittle, there is pain from hot and cold food, you can get a gum burn.
If you use traditional methods for a long time, the enamel will become thin. Yellow dentin will show through from under it, which will only make the teeth darker. Instead of whitening, a person gets the opposite result.
“Soda can only remove plaque,” explains Tatyana Petrosyan, dentist-therapist, endodontist, periodontist at the Belgravia Dental Studio clinic. “Professional bleaching works on dentin, as it is what gives color to the teeth.”
Funds from pharmacies and shops
The assortment of pharmacies and shops is more trustworthy than folk recipes. But whitening toothpastes and toothpowders work with abrasive particles. They act like baking soda or charcoal: they mechanically scrape off plaque, which makes the teeth appear lighter than they were.
If you use these tools often, scratches will remain on the enamel, it will become thinner. The dentin will show through, the teeth will darken and start to hurt from cold and hot.
In cosmetics stores, whitening gels with a sponge or brush come across. They work with hydrogen peroxide. For full-fledged whitening, its concentration is not enough, but you can get a gum burn and increased tooth sensitivity due to the loss of minerals in the enamel.
By professional means
There are two types of professional whitening systems: trays (for example, Opalescense and Perfect Bleach) and strips (for example, Crest 3D White and Blendamed 3D White Luxe). The active ingredients are carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. Sodium fluoride or potassium nitrate is added to the composition. This replenishes the loss of minerals in the enamel, helps to avoid fragility, increased sensitivity of the teeth. Similar formulations are used for chemical bleaching in the dentist’s chair.
Carbamide or hydrogen peroxide penetrates through the tooth enamel into the dentin, where it breaks down to atomic oxygen. It destroys the pigment substances inside the tooth, that is, those that give color. As a result, the teeth become whiter than they were by nature, by 4-6 tones on the Vita scale.
The concentration of active substances in home whitening systems is lower than in the products used by the dentist. This is necessary so that they can be safely used by people without a medical education. But because of this, the effect is not immediately visible: it is evaluated one to two weeks after regular use.
The active ingredients are in the form of a gel. If you use mouthguards, you need to apply the gel on them yourself. The active substances are applied to the strips at the factory, so they are simply glued to the front of the tooth.
The procedure is carried out daily for 10-20 days. It takes from 30 minutes to 10 hours, depending on the concentration of the active substance in the composition, the color of the teeth and the desired result.
“A home whitening course is equivalent in terms of results to a clinical course, that is, performed in a dentist’s office,” Dmitry Ryabov , Ph.D. , pediatric dentist, dentist-therapist at the GMS DENTAL clinic, shares his experience . “But only if the doctor’s recommendations and the frequency of use of drugs are followed, that is, how many times active substances are applied to the teeth and how long they are kept.”
Which whitening system to choose and how much to keep the composition on the teeth – the doctor decides. It is dangerous to select a system on your own – there is a risk of side effects:
- wedge-shaped defects will become larger – areas of the tooth near the gums, where the enamel has collapsed and yellow dentin is visible
- fillings and restored areas of the teeth will not whiten – the enamel will look stained, as the materials were selected to match the natural color
- tooth sensitivity will increase – it hurts a person to drink and eat hot, cold, sour
- the teeth will become brittle – if the system is overexposed on the teeth, the enamel will lose more minerals than it will receive from the composition.
Before home whitening, you need to do a professional teeth cleaning. Plaque will not allow the composition to fully penetrate into the tooth, which is why the result will be less noticeable.