Friday, July 24, 2009

Whitening Teeth & Healing Gums – Experiment Update: Colgate Sensation White

The search for the perfect teeth whitening toothpaste continues.
The search for the perfect teeth whitening toothpaste continues. (Photo by jet platypus)

It's time for another update on my teeth whitening & gum healing experiment, which has been going on for quite a while now. As you may have guessed, the idea behind the experiment is to find safe and easy ways to whiten teeth and stop gums from receding.

To recap, for the past months I've been brushing my teeth with Colgate's Sensation White. This toothpaste has something called "micro-cleaning crystals", which are supposed to get rid of stains from coffee, tea, etc. According to Colgate, regular use will have a whitening effect in general. As a sign of confidence, the toothpaste even comes with a color strip to compare your teeth against.

I thought the included color strip was a great idea, but in practice, it's surprisingly difficult to find an exact match for your teeth color. So I decided to just rely on visual inspection. Subjective as it may be, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that my teeth are no whiter than they were before using Colgate. In fact, I would go as far as to say that they may have gotten even more discolored during these months.

This is most likely due to the fact that I drink several cups of green tea per day. While it most likely has a smaller effect than black tea, it still stains teeth in the long run. Another culprit is coffee, which I love. None of the supposed nootropics I've tried so far give me that mood-lifting energy boost quite like coffee does.

Two cups per day is my maximum at the moment. While it's not as much as many other coffee lovers I know, it probably has a significant effect on teeth color even in these amounts. And then there's dark chocolate, possibly my favourite food in the world. Goes brilliantly with coffee, mind you. I suspect consuming a copious amount of cocoa powder each day doesn't exactly make teeth sparkle, either.

It's important to note here that while staining, coffee, tea and cocoa are all good for dental health in general. It's just that the color and health of your teeth don't necessarily go together. For me, the choice between a longer life and shiny teeth is clear. Combining both would be optimal, of course.

My trust in whitening toothpastes is waning rapidly, but nonetheless, I have chosen another product for testing. This one is an ordinary store brand toothpaste with a claimed whitening effect. According to the label, the patented whitening mechanism is based on a combination triglycerides and hydrated silica. The latter is a common compound in toothpastes, as it a mild abrasive that helps in removing plaque and apparently also whitens teeth to some degree. Triglycerides in toothpaste is a new one for me, however.

I could just stop drinking tea and coffee for the duration of the experiment, but since most people looking to whiten their teeth are probably unwilling to quit enjoying their favourite beverages, I feel the experiment is much more interesting this way. If there's a product out there that can really make teeth whiter despite near-constant bombardment with tea, coffee and chocolate, then hey, we've got it made.

And if such a product indeed exists, I intend to find it.

For more information on dental health, see these posts:

Dental Health Effects of Green and Black Tea
The Role of Coenzyme Q10 in Oral Health
Tea, Coffee and Cocoa: All Good for Your Teeth
Preventing Mouth Ulcers with Tea Tree Oil Toothpaste - Results after Two Months

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7 kommenttia:

Anonymous July 25, 2009 at 12:26 PM  

Whitening toothpaste can be very harsh and remove someof the dentine on your teeth. Since what's underneath is even more yellow they can actually make your teeth more yellow. If you want to bleach your teeth you will have to use a peroxide product.

JLL July 25, 2009 at 1:26 PM  


While it's probably true that damaging the dentine will make teeth appear more yellow, the whiteners in toothpastes are only mild abrasives. As long as you don't press excessively hard while you brush, I don't see any problems with whitening toothpastes.

troglodytemignon October 27, 2009 at 2:59 AM  

Ever investigated hydrogen peroxide (at wound treatement concentration - about 3%) for teeth whitening? google it...

How to whiten teeth November 28, 2010 at 12:50 PM  

I agree with JLL.
Brushing teeth does not harm as you brush the teeth gently and don't push to hard. Also people often brush their teeth too fast. 2 to 5 minutes is recommended to spend on brushing teeth.

Becka January 9, 2011 at 2:53 AM  

Another experiment you may want to try is oil pulling - daily swishing of coconut or sesame oil around your mouth for 10-20 minutes. I've heard people claim the fat dissolves teeth stains.

Wikipedia article on oil pulling

Teeth Whitening Doylestown April 14, 2011 at 1:37 PM  

I've been enjoying reading your blog.

Shelly January 20, 2016 at 11:57 PM  

I'm always looking for new ways to brighten my smile this looks like a great product to try. I will definitely try this out. Thank you for the post!

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