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Teeth Whitening: Myths and Facts

Americans are spending more than $11 billion on teeth whitening products and treatments annually. This figure includes spending over $1.4 billion on at-home teeth whitening products. Getting rid of yellow teeth is favored by many people, especially since bright smiles have dominated the world of entertainment and social media. With so much money being spent and so many at-home and professional remedies, it’s sometimes difficult to know what’s true and what’s not!

Dr. Thomas Sonneveld, the orthodontist at Sonneveld Orthodontics, has compiled some popular myths and facts about teeth whitening we know our patients will find interesting. Dr. Sonneveld is a highly-respected orthodontist in Orland Park, IL, area. He has been in practice for more than 25 years and is dedicated to helping families achieve better smiles.

MYTH: Brushing my teeth will keep them from turning yellow

While brushing your teeth can certainly help, it sometimes is not enough to combat the many reasons why your teeth may be yellowing such as:

  • Smoking cigarettes or eating certain types of foods can turn your teeth yellow because those foods are damaging your enamel - which is the outermost layer of your teeth.
  • Medications like antibiotics with tetracycline and doxycycline have a history of yellowing teeth when given to small children who have teeth that are still developing. Certain mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride can also stain your teeth.
  • As you age, your teeth will likely darken because the hard enamel on the outside of your teeth becomes weakened down and eroded away. This reveals dentin, which sits under your enamel and is naturally a yellow color.

Whatever may be causing your teeth to yellow, there are several solutions from Dr. Sonneveld to change your dull smile into one that shines.

MYTH: At-home Teeth Whitening Remedies Are A Waste Of Time

At-home teeth whitening has become very popular amongst Americans for its low price and comfortable process. While some at-home remedies (like brushing with charcoal) aren’t recommended by most orthodontists, others are. Dr. Sonneveld recommends three at-home natural remedies for a brighter smile.

#1. Brushing your teeth with baking soda. Your grandparents have probably told you about this at-home remedy that seems too good to be true but we’re here to tell you that it really works. Brushing your teeth with a paste made from baking soda helps to decrease bacteria in your mouth and remove surface stains.

#2. Use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash or mix it in with your baking soda toothpaste. Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent and it will kill bacteria in your mouth that causes your teeth to yellow.

#3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Not only will this help with your overall health,  it will also benefit your teeth and help to whiten them. Fruits like strawberries contain malic acid which has been proven to help to remove discoloration from teeth.

MYTH: Home Whitening Kits Are Always Completely Safe To Use

At home teeth-whitening kits have gained in popularity over the years as more and more people reach for the perfect white smile. While these kits are generally safe for use, they do pose some adverse effects if they are not properly and carefully used such as:

  • Teeth become sensitive after a prolonged usage
  • Periodontal problems like mild gingival irritation
  • Loss of mineral content of teeth
  • Increased risk for demineralization of teeth
  • Damage to the pulp of the teeth
  • Tooth erosion

To avoid adverse effects, these products should be applied for the recommended time frame only which usually lasts for 14 days. The kit you buy should hold the seal of America Dental Association or a local government body which makes these products licensed to be sold in the market. And, keep in mind that recent research has indicated potential long-term hazards and side effects associated with this procedure like discoloration and damage of dental fillings.

FACT: Professional Treatment Is The Best Option For Whiter Teeth

Professional teeth whitening produces immediate, noticeable results. Professional teeth whitening options range from deep bleaching procedures, to name brand treatments such as Zoom!, to the use of high-concentration teeth bleaching gel that is designed to penetrate the enamel and remove stains without damaging the enamel. Though these type of teeth whitening procedures are preferred for those who want the quickest results, there are many other options available for patients to choose from.

Contact Your Orland Park & Oak Forest Orthodontic Team Today!

Though we do not provide teeth whitening procedures, our team of orthodontic professionals at Sonneveld Orthodontics is happy to refer you back to a general dentist should you determine to pursue in-house teeth whitening treatments. Simply ask about teeth whitening referrals during any normal visit to our offices. Don’t let the discoloration of your teeth keep your smile from shining! Dr. Sonneveld has been providing families with professional orthodontic care for more than 25 years in the Orland Park, Illinois, area. Contact our team today by calling (708) 403-2626 or by filling out our online appointment request form!

COVID-19 Update for our Patients:

Our office is now open! In order to ensure our patients’ & staff’s safety, we have implemented some changes to our office procedures, in compliance with government mandates.

Please take a look at our updated office procedures to prepare for your appointment. If you have any questions, please give us a call or text us at (708) 403-2626. We will get back to you as quickly as possible.

We are now offering virtual consultations! If you are interested in a no-obligation smile assessment, visit our information page here.