The UK market for toothpastes is about £400 million a year of which about a quarter is for whitening toothpastes some of them up to £200 a tube.

I am sorry to report that they do not work. All toothpastes, whitening or not have some ability to clean off stains but they cannot inherently whiten the internals of a tooth. Some of them do contain whitening agents such as Carbamide or Hydrogen Peroxide but not at a level that is clinically effective.

Products that do work are only available to dentists and are specially licensed as CE approved dental products. These usually contain Carbamide or Hydrogen Peroxide at a higher concentration. They  need a dentist to prescribe them after a thorough examination and treatment of any dental or gum problems. Other people such as beauticians and hairdressers offering tooth whitening are doing so illegally and are probably using unlicensed and possibly dangerous whitening compounds.

People attach a great significance to using mouthwashes. These are often marketed by glitzy TV adverts showing miracle clean white smiles following their use. In the main mouthwashes are nowhere near as effective as they are purported to be in the adverts and some can even stain teeth!

Cleaning teeth is all about physically cleaning using a toothbrush, preferably electric and floss or interdental brushes with normal toothpaste.

A good analogy to mouthwash use is cleaning your car! If you have a dirty car and throw a bucket of soapy water over it you will still have a dirty car.

That is the equivalent of mouthwash.

If you take the same bucket of soapy water and clean all over using a sponge, the equivalent of brushing etc you will have a clean car.

Now for some good news. A study in The International Journal of Dental Hygiene has found that added milk to your tea and drinking it has a similar whitening effect to using some of the lower level Peroxide products.

So there are three messages to take on board from this article;

Stop wasting money on expensive whitening toothpastes that do not work.

Drink white tea and smile a lot.

For tooth whitening that really works only your dentist can legally help with proper licensed products that ae not harmful and do actually work.

To book an appointment at St Stephens Dental Practice where we will give you the confidence to smile please phone on 01227 452668 or  go to the St Stephens Dental Practice website