Do Whitening Toothpastes Really Work?

Teeth Whitening | Prosthodontics of New York | Manhattan, NYSince we’re here in the heart of the advertising world, located just around the corner from Madison Avenue, maybe we just feel that advertising is everywhere. But in some things, it would be nice to go back to the days when there were just a couple of options, rather than the shelf-space occupying plethora of today.

Toothpaste is like that. It used to be that toothpaste was paste or gel. That was about it. Now when you come across that shelf there are more choices than your brain can handle. Fluoride. Tartar control. Sensitive teeth. Natural. Baking soda. Paste. Cool gel. And, of course, Whitening. The choices can be mind-numbing.

There are a couple of no-brainers. Your toothpaste should be approved by the ADA, the American Dental Association. Second, it should have fluoride. Despite what crackpot conspiracy theorists claim about the horrors of “fluoride poisoning,” fluoride is scientifically proven to strengthen your enamel and protect your teeth. It’s not like you’re going to eat it on a pastrami sandwich!

And what about whitening? There are lots of whitening toothpaste out there these days, hogging precious shelf space at the corner grocery. Besides the fact that brushing itself should help whiten your teeth — after all, you’re scrubbing away plaque and subtle stains from the day — does whitening toothpaste actually make your teeth whiter?

Limited goals

Whitening toothpaste focuses on surface stains on your teeth, such as those caused by drinking coffee or red wine. These stains are on the outermost surface of your tooth enamel. Whitening toothpaste can break down these stains, although not with instantly dramatic results.

Unlike teeth whitening options, whitening toothpaste does not contain peroxide. This is the ingredient that gives teeth whitening programs their real power to whiten teeth. Instead, whitening toothpaste uses a special abrasive that gently polishes the teeth, along with other chemicals that help break down stains.

There is a fine line here — too much abrasion and the tooth enamel can be worn down. That’s why whitening toothpaste can only go so far. Without peroxide, they must remove stains by gently scrubbing off the stains.

Some whitening toothpaste contains the chemical blue covarine. This adheres to the surface of the teeth and creates an optical illusion that can make teeth appear less yellow. As Prosthodontics of New York, we don’t recommend this types of whitening toothpaste.

Instead, we believe you can get moderate whitening with a whitening toothpaste that simply attacks stains. Be sure it is ADA approved, however.

Our whitening options

For deeper whitening, we offer in-office or take-home teeth whitening at Prosthodontics of New York. Either option will whiten your teeth many shades beyond what you can get out of an over-the-counter option or from a whitening toothpaste.

Interested in whiter teeth? Call us at (212) 758-9690 to make an appointment.