Q. Does whitening toothpaste and mouthwash really work? What are my best whitening options?
A. Over-the-counter products do work somewhat. Most whitening toothpastes remove surface stains with abrasives. This is not good for the enamel with long-term use. Others contain peroxide which is meant to oxygenate and remove the stain from the tubules in the enamel. This is also how in-office dental whitening systems work. After many months of use, you may notice a slight whitening with an over-the counter rinse. However, if the percent (%) of peroxide is high enough to efficiently remove stain, it can also burn the soft tissue. Over-the-counter products do not usually provide a barrier to the soft tissues of the mouth. The lack of barrier tells me that it is not powerful enough to provide a satisfying result in a timely manner.
Mark D. McOmie, D.M.D.
McOmie Family Dentistry
5999 Shallowford Road
Chattanooga, TN 37421