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How Does Whitening Toothpaste Work?

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Teeth whitening is something we have all thought about when considering a whiter smile, but before we jump to that - what toothpastes should we be using to get the brightest smile?

There are two main ingredient types which whiten your teeth.

Abrasive agents:

These ingredients simply remove the outermost stains you may have picked up during the day. This means that the toothpaste won't necessarily whiten your teeth one shade lighter, however these ingredients prevent stains from developing and help keep a white smile.

Abrasive ingredients include:

  1. Calcium carbonate

  2. Hydrated aluminium oxide

  3. Magnesium carbonate

  4. Hydrated silicas

Hydrated silicas are the most effective abrasives, so look out for them in the ingredients list when shopping for a whitening toothpaste.

Bleaching agents:

These ingredients will actually lighten your teeth over time. Their concentrations are relatively low, therefore you will need to continue using the toothpaste consistently. Bleaching agents will remove extrinsic and some intrinsic stains, making your smile appear lighter.

Bleaching agents include:

  1. Hydrogen peroxide

  2. Carbamide peroxide (breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea)

So the hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient which removes the stains. If you would like to learn how these stains are removed, you can read How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

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