Tooth Whitening in the Headlines
From news headlines in the Independent to articles in fashion magazines, there has been a lot said about tooth whitening kits sold over the counter and online recently. There is much unscrupulous marketing out there trying to flog tooth whitening which is largely ineffectual and possibly unsafe. Recent research at the University of Manchester and published in the British Dental Journal has exposed that many of the kits sold on the High Street, such as in Boots and Superdrug, may be damaging to the teeth and largely a waste of money. Kits containing sodium chlorite have been demonstrated to soften the enamel.
Professional tooth whitening, as carried out by your dentist, uses hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which, in appropriate concentrations and applied int he correct manner, can effectively and safely whiten teeth. It is however illegal for products to contain greater than a concentration of 0.1%to be sold unless under professional dental guidance. Products sold over the counter and online containing such low concentrations will have little effect.Moreover, unless trays are custom made and well fitted to keep the agent tight to the tooth, any bleaching agent quickly seeps away, won't work, and risks irritating the gums.
Let's look at light activation... It was interesting to read the following snippet from Glamor Magazine.. 'You've probably seen the whitening lights all over Instagram - and while the Kardashians-Jenners might be promoting it, you shouldn't be fooled.' The article has got this aspect right. There no evidence that light any beneficial effect.
Professional take home whitening systems involves your dentist making professionally fitting trays and safety guaranteed gel to apply at home, traditionally at night, but really for a few hours any time. This method of whitening is the safest and most predictable, method with science and safety research behind it.
The Glamor article goes onto advocate in surgery 'power bleaching' at a cost of £795! Let's be clear, any amount of power bleaching will not get your teeth any whiter than the much more cost effective option of professional tray whitening. It is not legal for power whitening to use higher strengths of bleach than the take home professional whitening kits plus there is a lack of evidence that 'power activation' by light or other means does anything to enhance the effect.
For more advice ask your experienced dentist. We have been whitening teeth safely and effectively for over 20 years.