Have you ever looked at old photos and noticed how your smile used to be a few shades brighter and more youthful?
It's totally normal – our teeth can lose their natural whiteness over time. But the good news is, bringing back that natural radiance is easier than you might think. Thanks to science!
Whether you're like us and depend on coffee for survival, a fan of colourful foods like blueberries or soy sauce, or just feeling like your smile could use a boost of radiance, there are some simple and affordable oral care essentials to get your teeth looking their best again.
What Are Teeth Whitening Products?
Whenever you indulge in coffee/tea or foods that contain healthy doses of tannins (polyphenols that can stain the enamel), these foods form a layer on the outer surface of your tooth - the enamel. This layer affects the hue of your teeth and will continue to build up over the years.
Gradually, this layer will take the form of nasty stains. These stains can turn your pearly whites into yellowish, dull ones. Thankfully, there is an array of teeth whitening products available to fix this exact problem. These products are designed to restore the brightness of your teeth while erasing the nasty stains that build up over time. However, not all teeth whitening products are created equal.
How Do Teeth Whitening Products Work?
Majority of the teeth whitening products contain active ingredients, like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Some products use alternative ingredients such as Phthalimido-peroxy-caproic acid (PAP) and hydroxyapatite to achieve the desired whitening effect.
Here's how they work:
1. Hydrogen Peroxide*:
- Hydrogen peroxide is a strong bleaching agent that releases oxygen molecules when it comes into contact with the teeth.
- These oxygen molecules penetrate the enamel (outer layer) of the teeth and break down the chemical bonds of the staining compounds present on the tooth surface.
- This process, known as oxidation, helps to remove both extrinsic (surface) and intrinsic (deep) stains, resulting in a whiter appearance of the teeth.
2. Carbamide Peroxide*:
- Carbamide peroxide is a compound that breaks down into hydrogen peroxide when applied to the teeth and works similarly to the process described above.
- PAP is a peroxide substitute that acts as a bleaching agent in peroxide-free teeth whitening products.
- It breaks down stain molecules on the tooth surface, helping to whiten the teeth. PAP is considered to be a more gentle and less irritating alternative to peroxide.
- Hydroxyapatite is a naturally occurring mineral found in tooth enamel. It is known for its ability to remineralize and repair tooth enamel.
- In peroxide-free tooth whitening products, hydroxyapatite particles are used to fill in and cover up microscopic cracks and imperfections on the tooth surface
*In countries across western Europe and in India, the use of peroxide as an ingredient in oral care products is severely restricted given the negative side-effects (eg: enamel damage and tooth sensitivity) that customers can experience with long-term use.
Types of Teeth Whitening Solutions
If you are ready to experience the magic of a more radiant smile, you can choose between two options:
In-office teeth whitening treatments and over-the-counter (OTC) or at-home teeth whitening products may seem like alternatives in the quest for a brighter smile, but in reality, they complement each other perfectly.
In-office treatments, conducted by dental professionals, offer the advantage of immediate results and precise customization to your needs. They are ideal for those seeking quick and dramatic transformations. However, they can be costly. In-office whitening treatments at a clinic of repute in India’s metro cities can cost anywhere between Rs. 15,000-35,000 for the typical 2 sittings.
On the other hand, OTC or at-home whitening products are more budget-friendly and convenient, allowing you to maintain your dazzling smile post-professional treatment. These products work gradually and are great for touch-ups and maintaining your dental aesthetics over time. With consistent use, you can also see improvements in the hue of your enamel from the use of OTC products alone.
Ideally, in-office treatments deliver the initial sparkle, while OTC products help sustain it. Together, they form a powerful combination for achieving and preserving a radiant smile.
Read on to find out about the most popular OTC Whitening Products:
1. Whitening Toothpaste: This is the most common form factor available over-the-counter for teeth whitening. While most major brands have at least some toothpaste variants that offer whitening benefits, the claims they make are often exaggerated. This is because toothpaste only interacts with your enamel for 2 minutes at a time, twice a day. This is a very short period of time to create meaningful, visible results. In addition to this, most whitening toothpastes tend to be filled with abrasives that can damage the enamel with persistent use. When it comes to maintaining that coveted pearl-white smile, we recommend you opt for a SLS-free toothpaste with enzymes like papain and bromelain that are scientifically proven to eliminate stains. While it won't work overnight miracles, it's your perfect choice for maintaining your newfound sparkle.
2. Daybreak Whitening Strips: These whitening strips are coated with a revolutionary gel that works its magic on those deep, stubborn stains. The HAp in the formula remineralizes the enamel while the PAP and Potassium Citrate oxidise the stains without the release of free radicals. With just 30 minutes a day, you'll witness your smile transform from ordinary to extraordinary.
3. Daybreak Whitening Pens: In comparison to peroxides, these are loaded with PAP and hydroxyapatite, which give a considerably safer whitening experience. These pens offer precise and targeted application. Perfect for use on the go, we suggest you use the Pen right after eating/drinking foods that can stain your enamel.
4. Tray-Based Whitening: If you seek a more personalised experience, tray-based whitening might be the best choice for you. You'll receive custom-fitted trays that cradle your teeth like a treasure chest. Fill them with the whitening gel and wear them for a designated period. This method offers more noticeable results and can be obtained over the counter or through your dentist.
5. Whitening Mouthwash: It is a type of oral rinse that works in conjunction with other tooth whitening agents. A whitening mouthwash contains special ingredients that are effective in removing the superficial stains. Nowadays, whitening mouthwashes have become an essential part of the oral care routine for a sparkling smile.
Why Are Teeth Whitening Products So Popular?
Lately, teeth whitening products have been gathering a lot of attention, and for good reason:
- Easy Accessibility: Teeth whitening products are very easily available. You can find them at your local shops, online stores, or even at your dentist's chamber.
- Pocket-Friendly: Teeth whitening products offer a range of options, catering to different budgets. Whether you’re a person with a tight budget or someone who invests significant sums in their appearance, there's a product to suit everyone’s pocket and budget.
- Multiple options: No two smiles are the same, and teeth whitening products get it. There are lots of choices for you to choose from, ranging from toothpaste and strips to pens and professional treatments. What will work best for you will entirely depend on your oral health status.
Tips for a Lasting Sparkle
But after all this, you might be curious about how to maintain the dazzle for a longer period of time. Here are some tips that you can follow to have healthier, whiter teeth for longer:
- After an in-office whitening treatment, avoid colorful foods and drinks for a day or so. Your teeth are a bit porous right after treatment and can soak up stains like a sponge.
- Regular brushing and flossing are like protective spells for your smile. They prevent new stains from gaining a foothold and keep your teeth and gums healthy.
- While it's tempting to cast the whitening spells frequently, doing so can lead to sensitivity. Stick to the recommended usage for each product.
In the pursuit of a brighter, more confident smile, we've delved into the world of teeth whitening. Whether you opt for a whitening toothpaste, the transformative Daybreak Whitening Strips, or the on-the-go convenience of a Daybreak Whitening Pen, the journey to a dazzling smile is at your fingertips. Let's be real, your smile deserves nothing but the VIP treatment. It's time to bid those stubborn stains adieu and give a big, cheerful hello to a whole new level of confidence!