Want White Teeth? 3 Reasons Why Your At-Home Treatments Might Not Be Working

Posted on: 10 June 2015

In the quest for a white, bright smile, people in the United States spend approximately $1.4 billion annually on over-the-counter whitening products. That number represents a whole lot of products, such as bleaching kits, whitening strips, whitening toothpastes, rinses and more.

If you've spent your fair share of money on at-home whitening products and still have yellow teeth, you may wonder why these products aren't working for you. Following are three reasons why your at-home treatments might not be working.

They Aren't Strong Enough

The American Dental Association (ADA) tells companies how much whitening power their products can have. The main whitening components used in products, such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, can cause a great deal of damage to teeth and gums if they are used improperly. For this reason, the ADA dictates that over-the-counter products must be weaker because they can be used by anyone. The products dentists are allowed to use, on the other hand, are much stronger. For example, an average at-home product contains 3.5 percent hydrogen peroxide, whereas professional dental products contain 25 to 40 percent peroxide. 

You May Be Beyond Whitening

Your teeth are made up of two layers: dentin and enamel. Dentin, a yellowish substance, makes up the bulk of the tooth. It is covered by a thin layer of enamel, which gives the tooth its whitish appearance. As enamel erodes, more of the dentin shows through, which causes teeth to appear yellow. Once this happens, all the whitening products in the world aren't going to help. In fact, continuously applying whitening products may actually cause your enamel to erode faster, making the teeth appear more and more yellow. If you don't have enough enamel, your only hope for white teeth are veneers. 

You Might Have Stains

Several types of food and drink can stain teeth, such as berries and wine. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco may stain your teeth as well. Over-the-counter products will not remove stains regardless of how often you use them. If you have dark brown spots or areas where your teeth are visibly discolored, you might have deep stains that only your dentist can get out with a strong, targeted treatment. 

If you've tried several at-home products to no avail, see your dentist about your options. Not only does your dentist have access to better and stronger treatments, they may be able to offer you additional solutions, such as porcelain veneers. Contact a company like Gentle Family Dentistry & Orthodontics for more information.