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Teeth Whitening: Are Over-the-Counter Whitening Products Effective?

More and more people are becoming increasingly concerned about their smiles. A typical person eats and drinks a number of different items on a regular basis that can stain or discolor teeth. In addition, the process of aging itself can cause teeth to become discolored and stained.

With this understood and in mind, you may be contemplating teeth whitening products as opposed to embarking on a full blown course of cosmetic dentistry -- a more simple approach to improving your smile in the comfort of your own home. In this regard, this article has been prepared to provide you with some basic information about effective over the counter teeth whitening products that you might want to consider to bring the shine back to your own smile.

American Dental Association Reflections ...

According to the American Dental Association, teeth whitening is a process that causes teeth to appear whiter. This can be accomplished by either lightening the teeth or by removing any stains and discolorations from the teeth. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products are usually effective and safe as long as they are used as directed. There are some side effects, such as increased tooth sensitivity and irritation to gums, but they are very few and usually temporary. The whitening of the teeth is not permanent; therefore the treatment must be repeated ever so often in order to maintain the whitening effects. Though the whitening effects of over-the-counter products usually lasts for several months, various factors including food and beverages consumed and the patientís level of oral hygiene can cause the timeframe to vary.

Types of Over the Counter Teeth Whitening Products for You

Over-the-counter teeth whitening products generally fall into two categories, whitening toothpastes and whiteners that are peroxide based or contain bleaching agents.

Whitening Toothpastes. All toothpastes feature mild abrasives. These abrasives aid in removing stains on the surface of the teeth. The whitening toothpastes, on the other hand, feature gentle chemical or polishing agents. Though they contain no bleach, they do offer additional stain removal on the surface of the teeth. For milder cases of teeth stains, whitening toothpastes can prove to be effective. They require extended and continued use, but they do offer some visible and apparent whitening properties.

Peroxide-Based Whiteners/Bleaching Agents. These products involve peroxide-based whiteners or bleaching agents. Whitening gels and whitening strips fall into this category. Products in this category actually bleach the teeth, meaning that they change the natural color of the tooth. This is great for removing both surface and deep stains. Even though the bleaching agents used in these whiteners is of a lower strength than those used in the dentist office, they are usually quite effective. Their effectiveness, though, does depend on how often and how long the product is used.

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