It is important to realize there is a difference between bleaching and whitening. Although both bleaching and whitening will change the appearance of your teeth, bleaching will actually change the shade or color of your teeth while whitening is simply removing dirt and debris as you would with brushing. In most cases, however, the two terms are used interchangeably despite their differences.
You’ll also be interested to know that there are two types of stains, which can be found on teeth. Extrinsic stains are self-inflicted when you drink dark-colored beverages such as coffee, tea or red wine or if you smoke. These stains can sometimes be removed by brushing but can require bleaching to remove them if they haven’t been dealt with over many years. Intrinsic stains are the result of trauma, aging and some medicines.
Now that you know the difference between bleaching and whitening and how stains are formed on your teeth, it’s time to learn about the lesser costing method to a brighter, whiter smile:
The cheapest, but often considered least effective, method of teeth whitening you can get over-the-counter is whitening toothpaste. The very fact that you’re brushing your teeth is a form of tooth whitening because you’re removing plaque and debris from your teeth. However some toothpaste contains chemical bleaches or abrasives to achieve some whitening results.
Peroxide is often used in toothpaste to provide a whitening agent. This level is very small because of the potential to irritate the gums, throat or stomach should it be swallowed.
Many toothpaste varieties contain abrasives to help clean the teeth. Those, which claim to whiten, have added abrasives. Unfortunately the added abrasives can cause damage to some types of dental work you may have had. So it is a trade-off as to whether or not to use them.