Magazine article Work & Family Life

What's Up with All Those Tooth-Whiteners?

Magazine article Work & Family Life

What's Up with All Those Tooth-Whiteners?

Article excerpt

Judging from the drugstore shelves, we are a nation clamoring for whiter teeth and brighter smiles. But do those tooth-whitening products really work? Here are some of the facts about prettying up tooth enamel.

* A PEROXIDE COMPOUND is the chemical commonly used in home bleaching kits or the dentist's office. It penetrates tooth enamel and breaks apart the compounds staining the teeth.

* WHITENING TOOTHPASTES usually contain agents that remove stains by polishing but don't alter the color of enamel. In any case, they don't work very well as whiteners because the chemicals are in contact with your teeth for such a short time.

* HOME KITS (such as whitening strips, gels, pens and tray-based systems) offer modest improvements. All of these measures will whiten enamel somewhat, and they can also irritate your gums.

* DENTISTS USE STRONGER SOLUTIONS of peroxide and sometimes a laser or special light to hasten tooth whitening. …

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