Why Teeth Whitening Products Make Teeth Appear Brighter

Posted by Gregg L Lage DDS May 08, 2019

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The process of teeth whitening has grown both in popularity and availability. The demand for cleaner-looking, whiter teeth has spurred an incredible amount of growth in the industry, so that now you can have your teeth whitening done by a professional or do it yourself at home with an over-the-counter kit. These advancements and ease of access are very fortuitous in the modern world, where we have access to a large number of products that could potentially stain or discolor our teeth. All products contain some kind of coloring agent, be it natural or chemical in nature, some will stain more than others.

Avoid certain products to prevent tooth stains

The top products on the list that are responsible for, and can, discolor the teeth include things we eat and drink every day like coffee, tea, soy sauce, berries, cola, and energy drinks. Coffee is one of the most widespread of these, not because it is more potent than the other but because of how many people drink coffee in America.

To give people an idea, there are many coffee shops in the country, which will serve many people at least one cup of coffee every single day. Rich in chromogens, coffee can easily stain the teeth. It is the widespread proliferation of products like coffee, which is not even the worse product when it comes to tooth discoloration, has resulted in an increased demand for oral hygiene and teeth whitening solutions.

The chemical process behind whitening

Chemicals make teeth whitening possible. These chemicals influence the teeth into looking a lot whiter, and so patients need to exert a level of caution when applying home teeth whitening solutions. We have two simple recommendations for people who want to do the whitening themselves.

First, we recommend that patients speak with a dentist about the frequency with which they should whiten. All whitening solutions come with a warning against frequent use. The chemicals can cause damage in excess amounts and that the enamel needs some time to adjust before an individual can whiten again. While this may be frustrating to some people, who want to maintain their beautiful pearly whites all the time, it is safer in the long run for the teeth.

Second, we ask that the patient visits a dentist prior to whitening his or her teeth. This allows the dentist, us, to check the teeth for any underlying problems that may be made worse or irritated by the teeth whitening chemicals. A quick check up and advice can save the patient much trouble over time.

Why teeth look white

Teeth reflect natural light. They are like 100% of all objects on earth, which get their color based on the angle at which they reflect the white light. When discoloration or stains change the angle of reflection, the teeth appear to be less white.

In order to correct this, we and all teeth whitening solutions use a formula that oxidizes the teeth so that they are whiter. The peroxide is quickly absorbed by the enamel, releasing free radicals in the organic chemical makeup of the teeth. These free radicals make the teeth appear more colorless, and hence whiter.

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