In the most recent Cosmetic Dentistry State of the Industry Survey, practitioners reported that teeth whitening was the most popular performed treatment in their office. However, if your employees are looking to brighten their smiles, there are many teeth-whitening trends to consider. Remind them to research teeth-whitening options before making a decision on how to proceed. Do they want to lighten their teeth in the comfort of their home, or would they prefer leaving the whitening to a professional? Do they want to try a natural or chemical method of lightening their teeth? Knowing the answers to these questions will help your staff decide which option is best for them.
Before choosing a teeth-whitening method, it’s also important for your employees to understand how these products and services will work. The American Dental Association (ADA) categorizes teeth whitening into two different methods, bleaching and non-bleaching. Bleaching the tooth removes both deep stains and surface stains using products that contain peroxides, while non-bleaching removes surface stains through physical or chemical action. Find five popular teeth-whitening methods outlined below:
Brushing With Baking Soda or Activated Charcoal
Some people skip the toothpaste and brush their teeth with baking soda or activated charcoal to remove stains and lighten the shade of their teeth. You can create a baking-soda paste by mixing the powder with a small amount of water. Both activated charcoal and baking soda are mild abrasives that help to clean surface stains off teeth, making them appear whiter. However, neither of these options contain fluoride—an ingredient found in toothpaste—which strengthens teeth and helps to prevent cavities. Also, activated charcoal and baking soda can erode a tooth’s enamel over time.
Swishing With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the main ingredient in many whitening toothpastes and products; however the concentration in store-bought bottles is often much higher than those in the whitening products meant to brighten teeth. Because of that, prolonged usage might result in moderate to severe teeth sensitivity. If your employees are considering hydrogen peroxide as a method of lightening their teeth, suggest they opt for a different over-the-counter product labeled specifically for teeth whitening, such as toothpaste or whitening gel.
One recent teeth-whitening trend is oil pulling, an Ayurvedic medicinal treatment dating back over 3,000 years. However, swishing a spoonful of edible oil (coconut, sesame or sunflower) in the mouth for twenty minutes a day hasn’t been proven to whiten teeth. While most dentists agree that oil pulling shouldn’t be used as a person’s only source for oral healthcare, some dentists feel that it can be a nice supplement to traditional methods. The ADA suggests that due to lack of scientific evidence, it should not be used for oral care of any kind. The jury is still out on whether it actually provides whiter teeth.
Whitening Toothpastes and Products
If your staff is already brushing their teeth twice a day, they might as well use a whitening toothpaste to freshen up their smiles. These toothpastes work to remove surface stains by gently polishing teeth and utilizing other non-bleaching actions. Employees should opt for a brand with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, to be sure they are being gentle to their teeth. Many are available over-the-counter, and do not need to be specially ordered through their dentist.
There are also many other over-the-counter products besides toothpastes, such as gels, teeth strips and whitening trays in which a whitening agent is applied directly to the teeth to lighten their shade.
Professional In-Office Whitening
Many dental offices offer professional-grade teeth-whitening services. These services are similar to the products available over-the-counter, but contain a much higher concentration of whitening chemicals and are sometimes paired with special lights to enhance the process. After shielding the gums from treatment and cleaning the teeth, the dentist will paint on a bleaching gel, let it sit for a set amount of time, wash it off, and then repeat the process. Some treatments will also require at-home whitening via dental trays.
If your employees choose to try one of these teeth-whitening trends, it’s best they consult with their dentists first. Also, remind them to look for a product with the ADA Seal of Acceptance to assure both safety and effectiveness.