Save your money: 'whitening' toothpastes do not bleach more than normal
Some of our life habits affect the color of our enamel. Drinking coffee, smoking, some foods, can cause stains on our teeth that alter the color of our enamel and turn it yellowish. This is unpleasant for many people and we try to get rid of these stains using toothpastes that promise to help us whiten them.
The problem is that these spots are not always superficial, moreover, in many cases penetrate the enamel, so we need products that are able to get rid of stains and deep dirt and really change the color of our teeth.
The question is if whitening toothpastes are able to do this and get considerable differences compared to normal toothpastes. The answer is, and you are going to forgive me the spoiler, which does not seem that way.
How the enamel is bleached
The American Dental Association indicates that there are two ways to "whiten" teeth. One in which the color of the tooth is really changed and another in which the surface dirt is removedl, without changing the color of the tooth. That is, without really bleaching it.
In the first option, products such as peroxide are used, which removes both surface dirt from the tooth, as well as deep stains, and alters the color of the enamel, making it whiter.
This type of treatment can be performed at home or in the dentist's office, but in all cases should be carried out with the knowledge and supervision of a dentist, as they can weaken the gums and even the teeth, causing sensitivity.
In the second case are the products that, with some chemical elements, they manage to remove surface dirt, but not change the color of the enamel. It would be in this second group where whitening toothpastes would be or pretend to be. The question is whether they really get it or if they get it more and better than conventional dentifrices.
Whitening toothpastes, do they work?
The simple answer is that it seems that they can remove surface stains, but that there is no evidence that they do better than normal toothpastes.
Interestingly, a study carried out by Unilever, manufacturer of Signal brand products, conducted a 57 research review carried out on the effectiveness of bleaching dentifrices. Remember that Signal has specific bleaching products - such as Signal bicarbonate bleach or Signal white now - so you would be interested in ensuring that they work.
However, in the results of the review they conclude that there is no evidence that toothpastes with bleaching effect work better than normal or have long-term effects. In the study they don't say it so clearly, of course, but they say that there is not enough information or that the information regarding its functionality is limited. Come on, there is no evidence.
Other research goes a bit further and indicates that this type of toothpaste it can cause greater enamel wear than the usual toothpastes. Or, even, that could be more toxic than normal.
In short, these toothpastes may be able to make changes at the surface level - without evidence that they do more and better than normal ones - but to get deeper stains and, really, whiten the teeth, it is necessary to undergo deeper whitening treatments.
I have, at this moment, a canister of whitening toothpaste waiting for me in my bathroom. However, taking into account existing data, and the harmful effects that they may have, it does not seem to be too much to spend our money on these types of products. I don't know about you, I don't think it will fall again.