Bright, white smiles are beautiful. Having a perfect smile can make you appear younger, healthier and more vibrant. How do teeth whitening products get results, though? By understanding how these products work, you can make a more educated choice about which products are right for you.
Active Ingredients in Tooth Whitening Products
The most common ingredients used in teeth whitening products to obtain a brighter smile are two types of peroxides. Carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are the substances that are used in almost every tooth-whitening product available on the market. Carbamide peroxide is the base ingredient hydrogen peroxide mixed with a solution. Because of the differences between these two whitening ingredients, the density levels that are expressed as a percentage represent different intensities. A typical whitening product can offer carbamide peroxide in densities of 10 to 35 percent, while hydrogen peroxide percentages are typically lower averaging from five to 25 percent. With both of these active ingredients, you will find that the higher densities are only available from your dentist, not in products found at the local drug store.
How the Ingredients Work to Whiten the Teeth
When hydrogen peroxide breaks down in the mouth, the result is one oxygen atom that works to whiten the tooth and a water molecule. The oxygen penetrates the surface of the teeth and essentially absorbs the stains that are in the enamel of the tooth. Because of the simplicity of the chemical breakdown, tooth whitening with these types of products is considered safe. The higher the percentage of the hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide used in the tooth whitening products, the greater the number of particles that can be broken down to produce the oxygen that brightens the teeth.
Tools to Increase the Effectiveness of Teeth Whitening Products
Imagine the chemical reaction that takes place as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide become water and oxygen in the mouth. If there is no barrier there to hold the oxygen in place, it may simply drift away into the air around your mouth. This is why people who use whitening strips or trays with whitening gels in them will typically see quicker results. Whitening pens or gels that are not held in place somehow tend to produce less impressive results.
Another way to increase the effectiveness of the whitening compounds is to make sure that as much of them convert to oxygen and water as is physically possible. Heat and light are the main factors in the chemical transformation that creates the effective oxygen molecule. By exposing the whitening gels to a particular shade of blue light, the maximum amount of oxygen is released in the quickest way possible. This is why you can get whiter teeth from your dentist within just one hour.
No matter what types of teeth whitening you are looking into, your dentist is the best resource for information about what will be most effective and safe for your smile. If you are unsure about whitening in general, make sure to ask about it in person at your next appointment.
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