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Monday 9:00am - 6:00pm

Tuesday -Thursday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Friday 8:00am - 12:00pm

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Specials hours

Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm

Tuesday -Thursday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Friday,Saturday,Sunday Closed

Phone: 989-773-3560

900 E Bellows St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858


Are Whitening Toothpastes Just Hype?

Shelf space is the thing when it comes to a trip to Meijer these days. Where there formerly was one type of Fig Newtons, now there are like six. There once was a single Special K cereal; now you could get lost in their variety.

The same for toothpastes. It used to be there were two toothpaste options, pretty much regular Crest or Colgate. Then it was paste or gel. Then it was tartar control. Then it was breath freshening (isn’t that what tooth brushing does inherently?). Then there was baking soda toothpaste. Then came whitening toothpaste. Whoa. If you have trouble making decisions, the toothpaste section just became a difficult place for you.

At Dr. Egger’s we often are asked about the various toothpaste options out there. One of the more typical questions is if whitening toothpastes actually do what they claim to do — remove stains and whiten your teeth.

Let’s look at that in this second blog of November.

Limited goals

Whitening toothpastes focus on surface stains on your teeth, such as those caused by drinking coffee or red wine. These stains are on the outermost surface of your tooth enamel. Whitening toothpastes can break down these stains, although not with instantly dramatic results.

Unlike teeth whitening options, whitening toothpastes do not contain peroxide. This is the ingredient that gives teeth whitening programs their real power to whiten teeth. Instead, whitening toothpastes use special abrasives that gently polish the teeth, along with other chemicals that help break down stains.

There is a fine line here — too much abrasion and the tooth enamel can be worn down. That’s why whitening toothpastes can only go so far. Without peroxide, they must remove stains by gently scrubbing off the stains.

You can think of that as somewhat similar to the professional cleaning we do at Dr. Egger’s after we remove your tartar. You know the circulating brush and the paste we apply. That has a fairly high level of abrasive — you can the grittiness on your teeth — but that’s fine because your teeth only have this applied twice a year for a few seconds.

Otherwise, some whitening toothpastes contain the chemical blue covarine. This adheres to the surface of the teeth and creates an optical illusion that can make teeth appear less yellow. Drs. Egger doesn’t recommend these types of whitening toothpastes.

Instead, we believe you can get moderate whitening with a whitening toothpaste that simply attacks stains. Be sure to look for approval by the American Dental Association, however.

If you come across a new whitening toothpaste and you have questions about it, either bring it in or simply ask us about it the next time you’re here. We can see if it’s a good option to brighten your teeth or not. Until then, if it’s time for your twice-yearly exam and cleaning, please call us at (989) 773-3560 to schedule your appointment.