I came across many times with toothpaste products that promise to whiten your teeth “within 2 weeks” or less. Many brands of toothpaste even highlight the main ingredient which is said responsible for teeth whitening.
For this post, i picked “Pepsodent Whitening with Perlite” which promises among others “to naturally whitens teeth in 2 weeks“. It highlights perlite as if it is its active tooth whitening ingredient.
Benefits, as listed on the Pepsodent pack, include:
- Naturally whitens teeth in 2 weeks
- Helps remove stains on teeth
- Keeps teeth health and strong
- Freshens breath
Pepsodent Whitening ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Water, Sorbitol, Hydrated Silica, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Monoflourophosphate, Flavor, Perlite, Cellulose Gum, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Silicate, Sodium Sacharin, DMDM Hydantoin, CI 74160, and CI 77891,
Few googling of these ingredients could lead us to its identification and purpose in our toothpaste. The Psychology Department of the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A enumerated some key “whitening” ingredients in whitening toothpastes:
- Carbamide Peroxide – This is the chemical that bleaches your teeth with each usage.
- Abrasives – These can include alumina, silica, calcium carbonate and dicalcium phosphate which help break up the stains off the surfaces of the teeth.
- Detergents (sodium lauryl sulfate) – This chemical is basically like soap which foams and cleans the outer layer of the teeth.
- Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) – This is a protective ingredient that keeps stains away from the tooth surface.
- Others – These include enzymes such as papain, triclosan, citric acid, sodium tripolyphosphate
According to the study of the Venderbilt University teeth whitening traces back almost a century ago, in 1916 when “T.C. Adams found that hypochloric acid could treat dental fluorosis, which is a white mottling on the teeth due to excessive intake of fluoride either from certain toothpastes or excessive amounts of fluorinated water.“
The outer layer of the tooth is made up of enamel which could hold stains from coffee, red wine, etc. The inner layer dentin
changes to yellow as teeth age and could also change color due to excessive intake of flouride which is present in water.
Thus, yellow discoloration of our teeth is inevitable and is a natural occurrence. However, there are clinical treatments much better than using whitening tootpaste to remove stains in teeth.
While daily brushing (with non-whitening toothpaste), flossing, and rinsing with water after taking coffee, red wine or any tooth stain-causing intakes could minimize discoloration, there are much better professional treatments
by a dentist: applying tooth whitening, microabrasion, bonding, porcelain veneers, and crowns.
I’ve tried to check on the “perlite” which is highlighted by Pepsodent in their product and the first information i’d got is from Wikipedia
which says Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass and considered as an industrial mineral which majority of its uses is in building construction products.
Because of its mild abrasiveness, Perlite is used as the main abrasive medium in toothpaste.
An experiment at a laboratory in UK
found out that “calcium carbonate/perlite toothpaste removes more extrinsic stain than a silica control toothpaste” in two weeks of brushing twice daily.
The British Dental Journal
website features a “new” toothpaste that uses Perlite as its active ingredient in polishing teeth.
In most studies, the use of Carbamide Peroxide
in toothpaste has been found out to have more whitening effect than other abrasives. I’m not sure if there are local brands of toothpaste with Carbide Peroxide.
The Sodium MonoFlorouphospate
in Pepsodent helps fights cavities that would erode the enamel of the teeth. The MFP, as commonly abbreviated, is a salt.
Toothpaste with Salt
Salt (Sodium Chloride) is said to have a whitening effect on our teeth but too much salt could also damage our gums because it’s abrasive. However, unknown to us most toothpaste has salt in it as its ingredient. Pepsodent for example has Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, as surfactant, which is used as a foaming agent like a detergent to equally distribute the toothpaste during brushing. Personally, i favor this toothpaste than the popular brands like Colgate and Close-up because i could feel its cleanse-effect after brushing.
A locally-produced toothpaste manufactured by International Pharmaceutical Inc. (Cebu, Philippines) is marketing “Whitene
” as a cavity-fighting toothpaste with salt and mint. Whitene
is only available in dental clinics and i’d been personally using it when it was more accessible to me. I could hardly buy it now because it’s not available in the supermarket. I could feel a cleanse-effect after brushing using Whitene and i believe it can remove plaques than other toothpaste can do.
I’m not promoting the products above. It’s just so happened that i preferred to use the two products than the so-called leading brands.