If teeth whitening mistakes occur, they can cause more harm than good.

There’s now constant pressure in the media that whiter teeth are better. More attractive, forever youthful and healthier. But this desire can also lead to mistakes if you whiten incorrectly and consequential dental complications. You can also find yourself frustrated with products that don’t perform, wasting a lot of money and time.

So, forget about the latest so-called ‘influencer’ on Insta promoting a product they haven’t actually used to make a few quid. Forget the flashy adverts by multimillion pound companies promoting their own research. Forget what your mate at work has told you.

Let’s discover some common teeth whitening mistakes and see how it should be done

Whitening toothpaste is pointless

Whitening toothpaste contains small sand-like particles. They ‘work’ as the particles act as an abrasive against your tooth. This removes the stains, similar to if you scrub a pan with a scouring pad.

OK, so this may work with a negligible mark, but not with any real form of staining. Smoke? Drink coffee? Red wine? No way.

If your teeth look yellow or brown and you want them to look brighter then whitening toothpaste also has no effect. This is because the colour is deep within your tooth and the toothpaste won’t soak in that far.

A big problem is the sandy particles can actually destroy your teeth. If you overuse the toothpaste and scrub your enamel it can disappear and you will NEVER get this back. It can lead to cavities, increased sensitivity and ironically, darker teeth.

Charcoal is for BBQs

teeth whitening mistakes - charcoal

The new kid on the block. A sponsored ad pops up on Insta showcasing a pretty teenage girl grinning ear-to-ear with black teeth, so everyone immediately jumps on the bandwagon.

The theory is the charcoal is ‘activated’, meaning it can bind to the stains and remove them.

Again, this is nonsense. There’s no scientific research to back this up

Use it to cook your sausages instead.

Don’t overdo it

When using peroxide, your teeth can only whiten to a certain brightness. Everyone is different, much like the ability of certain people to tan darker than others.

If you’ve got to a stage where your teeth are no longer getting whiter you’re probably at saturation point.

Further bleaching is a common teeth whitening mistake. It will have no further whitening effect but can cause sensitivity.

A DIY tray is not the right way

don't use DIY whitening trays

If you’ve ever played rugby you know the difference between a boil and bite mouthguard and a custom fit. Boil and bite are ill-fitting, uncomfortable, make you gag and don’t provide much protection.

It’s the same with DIY bleaching trays. They MUST be custom fitting.

Ill-fitting trays can cause the bleach to seep out, causing irritation to your gums and throat. It also means that the bleaching gel is lost, so the process will be less effective and take longer.

Professional bleaching trays from your dentist are inexpensive, comfortable and provide optimal results.

Don’t buy teeth bleaching products over the counter

Why?

Because they’re a waste of money.

As dentists, we’re bound by strong regulations to ensure that our patients stay safe. Dental professionals can whiten teeth with up to 6% hydrogen peroxide.

These regulations also mean over the counter goods are restricted to 0.1%.

Therefore, the dentist’s bleach is 60 times the strength of over the counter products.

Over the counter bleach is so weak you’ll never see results.

Teeth whitening by a beautician

teeth whitening by a beautician

Sure, because I always go to the garden centre for my hair cut while my wife is at her accountant’s for her nails.

Are you mad?

Bleaching can exacerbate existing dental disease and cause pain if used incorrectly.

Only see a dental professional.

They will ensure your mouth is healthy before beginning and guide you through a safe, successful teeth whitening journey.

And what’s your nail technician using anyway? The polish remover?

So what should you do to avoid these teeth whitening mistakes?

It’s quite simple.

Always consult with a dental professional before whitening your teeth.

They will examine your mouth, spot any potential issues and rectify these to ensure you have a pain free whitening journey.

Your dentist will also discuss your whitening aims and lifestyle to find the most suitable bleaching products.

You will then have their guidance and support along the way.

If you’d like pain free teeth whitening and live in the Bournemouth and Poole area then feel free to contact me.


AUTHOR

Dr Gareth Edwards Dentist AuthorDr Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS RCPS (Glasg) qualified from dental school with honours. Practicing from Bournemouth and Poole, he has a keen interest in orthodontics and aesthetic dentistry and is a certified Invisalign and Six Month Smiles provider. For more information click here.

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