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Most people want white teeth. Doing it at home is cheaper than going to the dentist. There is no shortage of products. They include toothpaste, gels, strips, mouth trays, and rinses,

Do they work? And which one is best? How does teeth whitening work?

 Which way?

Teeth whitening products scrape away stains using physical force or bleach those stains with chemicals. Products that have any sort of grittiness will act as an abrasive. They file away stains on the surfaces of your teeth. Many regular kinds of toothpaste contain a little bit of texture.

Brushing itself is an act of scraping off stains and debris.

Chemical bleaching. Most whitening strips, gel-filled mouth trays, and rinses work by putting your teeth in contact with chemical bleaching agents

One difference between these products and in-office versions is that the concentrations of chemicals in over-the-counter products are much lower.

Which products work?

When toothpaste is advertised as “teeth whitening,” it usually means it has more of an abrasive quality than regular toothpaste. Chemical bleaching agents like whitening strips, gel-filled mouth trays, and rinses work by putting your teeth in contact with chemical bleaching agents. These products can reduce stains — whether from coffee, tea, red wine, or cigarettes.

Are teeth whitening products safe?

Abrasive teeth whitening products are generally safe. Scrubbing your teeth with particles that are too hard can wear down the enamel.

For those looking for a product that won’t be too harsh, choose one with a seal of acceptance from the A.D.A. This means it has been deemed safe and effective by the association At-home chemical bleaching treatments are safe when used as advertised.

The bottom line

Teeth whitening is never a permanent fix. At-home results can last from a few weeks to a few months. In-office whitening procedures can last for a year or more.

None of these whitening procedures will work on fillings, crowns, or other dental hardware. Whitening will lighten your natural teeth, which could create unevenness if your fillings are darker. Your dentist can recolor those mismatches by painting over them with a matching shade.

At-home chemical bleaching treatments are safe and effective when used as advertised. It is best to go with products that have lower concentrations of chemicals and shorter exposure times.

In the end, everybody’s teeth are different. When in doubt, check with your dentist.

Source: The New York Times October 3, 2022

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