We’re obsessed with white teeth, but we’re less obsessed with jumping through the necessary hoops to get them. That’s why despite the fact that dentists’ in-office professional whitening treatments are consistently and provably more effective than over-the-counter whitening products, we still invest our hopes in easy whitening products.
From drugstore strips that promise to dramatically brighten our smiles with just five minutes a day, to crazy DIY solutions that can do more harm than good, we’re suckers for a product that promises to make whitening a snap. Which is why we continue to fall for whitening gum and whitening toothpaste… even though they aren’t really doing our teeth any favors, either.
Whitening Gum: A Lot of Chewing for Little Reward
Whitening gum might sound like a great deal — you probably already chew gum, so why not whiten your smile while you’re at it? But it’s important to read the fine print. Many of these gums only promise to show results if you chew as many as five pieces of gum a day, and for many months consistently.
That’s not to mention the fact that whitening gum’s active ingredients are often highly abrasive (that’s what wears down the stained surface of the tooth to whiten it.) Since your enamel is the last line of defense between your teeth and cavities, weakening it intentionally is never a good idea.
Whitening Toothpaste: Only Surface Level
Whitening toothpaste also sounds convenient, and for the same reason as the gum: you’re already brushing your teeth, right? But just like the gum, the benefits of whitening toothpaste are being highly exaggerated by advertisers. All that a whitening toothpaste can do is lighten surface stains, which means that you won’t end up with a bright, gleaming smile unless you naturally have very white teeth.
And of course, whitening toothpastes utilize some of the same abrasive ingredients that whitening gums do, meaning that they pose a similar threat to your enamel.
The Right Way to Whiten
If you’re truly invested in a bright white smile, your dentist is the only one who can give it to you. An experienced cosmetic dentist will be able to offer multiple options for lightening a smile that’s stained, discolored, and even naturally dark.
If your discoloration is too much for bleaching to handle, don’t give up hope! Porcelain veneers can give your teeth a brand new facade that’s bright, natural-looking, and beautiful.