Good Matters™ Blog

Posted on October 22nd, 2012

A naturally white smile

Posted by Susanne, Associate Brand Manager and resident Registered Dental Hygienist

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When you work for a company that makes natural toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss you come to expect a lot of questions about oral care. And a subject that seems to be on a lot of people’s minds these days is teeth whitening. Why do some people have whiter teeth than others? What causes teeth to become less white over time? And are there natural ways to whiten teeth?

Your teeth are covered with a protective layer known as “enamel” which is the hardest substance in the human body. Although the normal color of enamel might be yellowish or somewhat gray, the crystalline structure of enamel interacts with and reflects light, and this is what causes the teeth to appear white. Some people are genetically blessed and have enamel that is thicker or brighter than others. Although this enamel is pretty durable, it is susceptible to damage and wearing. Cracks in the enamel can trap food particles, which can lead to a stained, discolored look. In addition, as the enamel thins over time, the yellowish dentin underneath becomes more visible. So one of the things you can do to keep your teeth naturally white is to care for your enamel. For example, reduce the amount of sugary and acidic beverages you consume, brush with a soft bristled brush, and be sure not to brush too aggressively.

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If you do turn to a whitening oral care product, know that they tend to fall into two categories – the products that work by bleaching the enamel with peroxide or chemicals, and the products that work by removing stains from the surface of the tooth. If your enamel is worn, a stain removal product is unlikely to make your teeth sparkling white, but might help return some of the natural color. Every time you brush with a whitening toothpaste you fight off new stains that develop from coffee or tea, red wine, tobacco or plaque build-up. Notice how the inside of your coffee cup retains stains unless you apply a little elbow grease? Whitening toothpastes can effectively remove surface stains with repeated use and helps restore the natural whiteness of your teeth. A bleaching product can help deliver that white color, but some people are concerned with using harsh chemicals to whiten their teeth, and the possible tooth sensitivity that can come from using whitening strips or other peroxide based products.

A healthy, natural smile can come in a variety of shades, but if you are looking to make your teeth a little whiter, you might want to start by asking your dental professional for advice. If you’d like to try a natural whitening toothpaste, Tom’s of Maine has a variety that use hydrated silica to remove stains, whitening teeth without being too abrasive. If you are looking to avoid sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and fluoride in your toothpaste, our new Botanically Bright whitening toothpaste might be right for you! It gives your mouth a foamy, clean feeling, tastes great and helps whiten your teeth by removing surface stains during brushing.

As always, we love to hear what you think!

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