Teeth whitening gums have been around for years, but how do they work? And is there any evidence that suggests this method can effectively remove stains from your teeth permanently? Find out here.
When you think of things that make people smile, chances are pretty good that the words “white” and “toothpaste” come to mind first — or at least very close together. But did you know that many adults also choose to brighten their smiles with over-the-counter dental products like gum, mouthwash, toothpaste, and rinses?
These kinds of products aren’t just popular because consumers want whiter teeth — some research has shown that certain types of chewing gum may help remove surface stains on our teeth. In fact, according to one study, those who used artificial sweeteners (as opposed to sugar) had brighter whites than those who didn’t use them.
This isn’t surprising when you consider all the different ways we brush our teeth today. Some methods involve using only water, while others require us to scrub away plaque by hand.
If you’re doing things right, brushing alone should get most of the hard stuff off your pearly whites, leaving them clean enough to start staining again if you don’t rinse well afterward.
However, even though bacteria might be removed from your enamel during the process, what’s left behind doesn’t always go away quickly. Sometimes, after eating something sugary, you’ll notice an orange stain or two lingering underneath your front teeth.
Luckily, several dental product brands contain ingredients designed to combat such discoloration, including carbamide peroxide, which can break down into hydrogen peroxide once released inside your body.
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the best bleaching agents available since it contains oxygen atoms capable of breaking apart other molecules. However, when applied topically, hydrogen peroxide tends not to last long enough to lighten dark spots caused by pigmentation or oxidation effectively.
Some folks turn to professional treatments performed by dentists or hygienists for more immediate results.
These professionals typically apply high concentrations of bleach to stained areas of your teeth so they can reach deeper levels of color removal. However, laser whitening techniques have become increasingly common among cosmetic dentistry patients looking to achieve dramatic transformations.
Getting a professionally treated white smile usually costs much less money than buying expensive whiteners or undergoing painful procedures like surgery and root canal therapy.
So why bother trying to whiten your teeth yourself?
How Whitening Gum Is Supposed To Work?
There are dozens of consumer-friendly whitening options currently on the market, from strips and tablets to lipsticks and powders. Many of these products rely upon the same basic principle: They release oxidizing agents chemicals that will eventually cause your teeth to appear whiter through superficial erosion.
While most types of whitening gums include some chemical compound intended to speed up this process, each brand offers its proprietary formula. For example, L’Oreal claims to provide the world’s longest-lasting whitening effect through its cosmetics line, whereas Crest uses baking soda as its main ingredient.
One thing to keep in mind about the active ingredients found in most whitening gums is that they gradually wear down over time.
As a result, manufacturers often advertise the benefits of using their products under the assumption that customers would need to reapply them throughout the day to experience maximum effects regularly.
Because of this, many companies sell replacement sets of individual pieces rather than complete kits containing multiple products. However, depending on the whitening agent involved, applying new doses of whitening gel every few hours could potentially lead to uneven results.
Also, remember that no matter what kind of whitening product you decide to try, permanent changes won’t occur until your dentist gives his approval.
Although many potential side effects are associated with teeth whitening gums, most users report positive experiences. Most importantly, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t expect instant miracles no matter what brand or style of whitening you choose.
Instead, whitening compounds erode the outermost layer of your teeth’s structure, allowing your natural teeth beneath to shine through. Many experts recommend taking caution before starting any whitening regimen — especially if you’ve recently undergone a procedure involving lasers or radiation treatment.
Many dentists agree that home remedies like whitening strips and pastels provide quick fixes for minor problems without causing severe damage. However, they generally fail to deliver deep-reaching results similar to those produced by laser treatments.
Choosing a noninvasive approach like whitening strips or pastel powder can save both you and your wallet. You can buy whitening strips for roughly $20 online, versus paying upwards of hundreds of dollars for a professional service.
A set of three custom colored pastels retails typically between $12 and $25 online, compared to prices ranging from $50 to $150 or more for a full-service consultation and follow-up visits with a trained specialist.
Does Teeth Whitening Gum Actually Work?
Unfortunately, while whitening gums can improve the appearance of your smile, they can’t truly transform unsightly discolorations caused by staining or oxidation. This is because many colors experienced near the center of our mouths originate from brownish hues within our teeth themselves.
In addition to highlighting age-related yellowing, these tannic acids can also block the ability of bleach to penetrate deeply enough to lift hidden stains. Even worse, some foods like coffee and tea can further interfere with the effectiveness of whitening gums.
So unless you have highly pronounced pigmentation issues affecting your upper anterior region, whitening gums probably won’t give you the dramatic transformation you desire.
If you still want to take matters into your own hands, there are plenty of safe, inexpensive alternatives to whitening gums that can produce noticeable improvements. Try mixing lemon juice and salt into a paste and gently rub it onto your teeth twice daily.
Or, cut a citrus peel lengthwise and rub the exposed flesh along your teeth. Though neither of these approaches provides the power needed to eliminate stubborn stains, they can at least temporarily hide imperfections until your next visit to the dentist.
Another option is to soak your mouth thoroughly with warm water mixed with a small amount of baking soda. After letting it sit for 15 minutes, swishing around, then spitting out the mixture, repeat the process four times daily.
By focusing solely on the backside of your tongue and cheeks, you should see visible improvement in approximately one week.
Not satisfied with the results you received from whitening gums, or perhaps you were hoping for more drastic measures? Read on to discover alternative solutions for achieving a whiter smile.
While it seems like anyone would benefit from having naturally whiter teeth, unfortunately, many factors beyond personal control contribute to our overall level of brightness. Your race, gender, genetics, and diet play considerable roles in determining how attractive you look to other members of society.
Take it a step further, and some cultures place great value on having perfectly white teeth, regardless of their actual hue. According to studies conducted by sociologist Alan Hunt, Native Americans living in reservations across North America have traditionally valued lighter skin tones due to cultural beliefs regarding beauty standards.
What About Other Whitening Products?
There have been numerous reports concerning health risks allegedly associated with some forms of whitening products in recent years. Although most of these claims have yet to be verified scientifically, some organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) continue to warn against consuming these substances altogether.
Specifically, the ADA states that products marketed as “bleach,” such as Dr. Brandt’s Tooth Bleach, should never be ingested directly into the oral cavity. Rather, they must instead be diluted and applied via tray or cloth applicators before cleaning.
Other critics argue that relying exclusively upon bleach-based products to whiten teeth can irritate sensitive tissues surrounding one’s roots. In response to these allegations, the ADA recommends seeking advice from a licensed dentist.
Unfortunately, some dentists prefer to avoid sharing their opinions on the subject entirely, instead opting to refer patients to specialists.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, at least one large organization feels comfortable recommending whitening products for everyone.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest says that despite ongoing debates about safety concerns, there’s nothing inherently dangerous about whitening products aside from the possibility of swallowing excessive amounts of sodium borate or alcohol.
Regardless, the CSPI maintains that proper labeling and packaging regulations should prevent individuals from accidentally ingesting harmful additives.
In addition, the group argues that public education campaigns aimed toward reducing unnecessary consumption of highly concentrated bleach formulas should discourage amateur attempts at DIY whitening projects.