Teeth whitening or bleaching is a method of making human teeth appear lighter in colour. As time passes, teeth may turn yellow for a variety of reasons. Many products are designed to return the teeth to its natural white colour by altering the extrinsic or intrinsic tooth enamel coloration.
This chemical based chromogens degradation within the tooth is called bleaching, and is most often accomplished with hydrogen peroxide. This substance will be released once it comes into water contact, and will then diffuse onto the teeth, functioning as a type of oxidising agent which will dissolve, producing free radicals which are unstable while doing so.
There are numerous products available which are designed to whiten teeth. However, in order for the treatment to work, dentists must first diagnose the type, location and intensity of tooth coloration. Once this has been established, a bleaching compound concentration and time exposure will determine the success rate.
Teeth may become stained as a result of smoking, consuming certain pigments in food and beverages, or exposure to iron, copper or antibiotics. The coloured compounds found in these elements may be absorbed into one’s dental pellicle and onto the tooth’s surface itself. Teeth may also be stained by dental plaque, which is a bacterial biofilm which forms naturally in the mouth, or regularly consuming products such as red wine, coffee or tea, substances which are rich in tannins that foment a chromogenic effect.
Tobacco based products can also discolour teeth due to the presence of tar and nicotine, which when merged with oxygen will become yellow in colour and as time passes can absorb within the tooth enamel pores, turning the teeth yellow. Foods which are most likely to discolour teeth include sauces which are tomato based along with curries.
Teeth whitening may be accomplished by special toothpaste, which utilise hydrogen peroxide along with silica gel abrasive particles that can eliminate extrinsic staining. McDaid Pharmacy carries a variety of highly effective teeth whiteners, such as Sensodyne Toothpaste, Pronamel Gentle Whitening, which is specifically designed to shield teeth against acid based erosion while removing stains gently and restoring their natural pearly colour, also using fluoride which provides extra protection from cavities and should be used up to three times daily.
At McDaid Chemist we also sell Spotlight Men’s Teeth Whitening Strips, which combine a proprietary super seal technology with hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth in about two weeks.