Does Fluoride Whiten Teeth

Does Fluoride Whiten Teeth

Does Fluoride Whiten Teeth

Fluoride is in most toothpastes as well as in tap water, so it must have some benefits to our teeth. But does it help clean them or does fluoride whiten teeth?

Let’s look at what fluoride is, why you need it for your dental health, and how to choose the best method to whiten your teeth.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a chemical derivative of the element fluorine found naturally in rocks and soil. Many countries have fluoride naturally occurring in the tap water, however, several have artificially fluoridated water so the general population have a sufficient amount to protect their teeth as fluoride is known for its positive qualities for teeth.

Some of the primary benefits of fluoride for oral health include:

  • Strengthening teeth by remineralising tooth enamel to make it more resistant to acid from bacteria and sugars in the mouth.
  • Preventing tooth decay by inhibiting the growth of bacteria that produce acid, reducing the likelihood of tooth decay and cavities.

Although fluoride is usually in or added to water, as well as oral hygiene products like mouthwash and toothpaste, too much can cause harm to teeth. Overconsumption of fluoride can lead to fluorosis which weakens the enamel and causes the teeth to appear more yellow as the dentin below the enamel (which is naturally yellower) becomes more visible.

However, the levels of fluoride found in toothpaste, drinking water, and other oral care products are carefully regulated to provide benefits without causing harm.

Does Fluoride Whiten Teeth?

Does Fluoride Whiten Teeth?

While fluoride can help maintain good oral hygiene, it’s not typically used to whiten teeth. Reducing bacteria and sugar’s effects on the enamel and preventing tooth decay will help to prevent teeth from becoming yellow, but fluoride doesn’t naturally whiten teeth that are already suffering from plaque and tooth decay. If you have yellow teeth despite brushing twice a day, continue to use fluoride toothpaste to prevent your teeth from worsening, however, you should consider changing other lifestyle habits that may be making your teeth discolour.

Some factors that cause yellow teeth include:

  • Food and drink containing tannins or strong pigmentation
  • Tar from smoking tobacco
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Injury
  • Poor oral hygiene

You can prevent teeth from yellowing to a certain extent by managing your diet, not smoking and maintaining good oral hygiene, however, it’s natural for your teeth to lose their whiteness as you get older. If you want to make your yellow teeth white again, you can speak to your dentist about what options are best for your teeth.

How Can You Whiten Teeth Naturally?

How Can You Whiten Teeth Naturally?

Teeth whitening is best done by professionals, but there are some natural remedies purported to whiten teeth which you can use at home. However, there is little to no scientific evidence that they work and are significantly less effective than professional treatments.

Some ways people naturally whiten their teeth include:

  • Oil pulling (swilling with coconut or sesame oil)
  • Brushing with baking soda
  • Brushing with activated charcoal
  • Chewing fruits like strawberries and pineapples

Of these methods, baking soda is the most effective as it has been proven to remove tough stains on both clothes and teeth, however, due to its abrasive qualities that allow it to scrub the staining off your teeth, it can also damage the enamel. Enamel is the protective outer layer of your teeth that prevents bacteria from infecting the sensitive dental pulp inside as it forms a hard surface to allow for comfortable eating. When the enamel is corrupted by plaque build-up and bacteria, known as tooth decay, you’re more susceptible to tooth infections.

Charcoal has the same properties as baking soda, so it may be more advantageous and less damaging to use toothpaste containing charcoal or baking soda, as long as it also contains fluoride, your teeth can stay healthy and have a slight improvement in colour.

The key thing to remember with natural remedies is that they won’t provide significant results to whiten your teeth; if you desire bright white or distinctly different colour teeth to your own, you need to have professional teeth whitening.

How Teeth Whitening Works

Teeth whitening usually involves bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which can remove stains and lighten the colour of the teeth. These whitening agents work by breaking down and removing the discoloured molecules on the surface of the teeth.

Treatments for teeth whitening are only effective against extrinsic staining (on the surface of your teeth) as opposed to intrinsic staining which can be caused by certain medications, injury that causes bleeding inside the teeth, and smoking. Some methods are also better than others for severe stains, while some may cause your teeth to feel more sensitive, so it’s important to talk to a dentist about your options first.

What Are the Best Teeth Whitening Treatments?

What Are the Best Teeth Whitening Treatments?

There are a few different teeth whitening treatments that are effective, some can give noticeable results after just one session, while others take a few sessions to get brilliant white teeth. You should speak to your dentist about what shade you want to achieve so they can suggest the best treatment or number of sessions for you.

Some ways to have your teeth whitened professionally include:

  • Laser teeth whitening
  • Professional bleaching
  • Custom-made trays for home use
  • Teeth whitening strips

Professional bleaching involves putting peroxide on your teeth in a mould similar to a gum shield to lighten your teeth, while laser teeth whitening adds a laser to this process to speed up the treatment and brighten teeth even further. You’ll see some results after just one session, although if you want a bright white smile or you have heavily stained teeth, you’ll need several sessions to achieve your dream teeth.

You can also take home moulds from dentists to apply the peroxide on your gums from home over a specified time. Some require no more than 30 minutes each time, while others can be worn overnight. Check with your dentist which is necessary before starting your whitening treatment.

The least effective teeth whitening method is whitening strips that can be bought in pharmacies as they aren’t made to measure and leave an uneven appearance, lightening the surface but neglecting the sides of your teeth.

Is Teeth Whitening Worth It?

Whether teeth whitening is worth it depends on your goal and your finances. Teeth whitening can be expensive, with laser whitening treatment the most expensive and over-the-counter whitening strips the least costly, although the effectiveness is comparable with the cost.

Whitening your teeth isn’t strictly necessary for your dental health, however, it does have a huge effect on people who are self-conscious about their smile. Having whiter teeth can make people feel more confident with the aesthetic improvement of their teeth without requiring significant or invasive dental procedures like veneers.

Whitening teeth also doesn’t mean having an obviously different, dazzling smile; you can pick the shade that suits you and makes you happier while still having a natural look.

However, teeth whitening is not a permanent fix. You can help your teeth stay whiter for longer by not smoking and avoiding foods with high colour pigmentation to avoid further staining, but to maintain your teeth at your chosen colour, you normally need another session once every 12 to 18 months.

If your teeth are stained intrinsically, whitening will also not be the best option for you as it’s difficult to remove interior tooth staining. Consider your options with your dentist before starting any whitening treatment. Teeth whitening is not available on the NHS so you can’t receive free teeth whitening in the UK and should consider the cost.

Get Your Teeth Whitened at Didsbury Dental Practice

Teeth whitening doesn’t have to be extortionate but it can be life-changing. At Didsbury Dental Practice, we don’t think anyone should be embarrassed to smile; book your teeth whitening consultation with us today!

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