Our appearance-conscious world is nowadays driving more and more people to undergo procedures that will improve their looks. Whether it is a non or minimally invasive cosmetic treatment or even things like hair extensions and eye lashes, more than ever before individuals are putting time, effort and money to look their best possible self. As they seek for solutions that do not require going under the knife grows, there are a number of areas that are expanding in popularity and one of them is teeth whitening.
In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that almost 40 million people will be using teeth whitening products by 2023. The expectations and preferences have also shifted to sometimes unrealistic goals of achieving that pearly Hollywood-like smile. Important to mention is that there are a number of factors to consider when it comes to DYI products versus professional teeth whitening at the dentist’s.
Understanding the complexity of teeth whitening options
There are a number of factors that can affect the coloring of teeth from diet, various medical conditions to habits such as drinking coffee or red wine or smoking. In a new 2019 paper, a chemist is reviewing modern concepts for teeth whitening and what that means for patients.
First of all it is important to make the distinction between at home and in-office options. Professional teeth whitening also known as ‘power bleaching’ is performed by a dentist for about 20-30 minutes using concentrated hydrogen peroxide solutions or alternatively, a ‘nightguard’ also known as overnight bleaching. Both of these options have been proven to achieve results that last for several years after treatment.
Over-the-counter products are different. Take for instance whitening toothpastes. The market for these products is incredibly saturated and the variety of choice makes it difficult for consumers to make informed and safe decisions. Abrasives are the main ingredients found in toothpaste formulations for an efficient stain removal and sometimes in an effort to achieve that high whitening effect, they contain harder abrasives which are bound to hurt the teeth’s enamel (the tooth’s outer layer). Besides this, there are a number of various other products available from whitening mouth rinses and stripes to whitening dental floss and chewing gums. Clinical trials and studies have yet to uncover the reality of how efficient and potentially safe these are which as expected poses a number of risks.
Consumers’ attitudes on teeth whitening options
DentaVox, a global market research platform gathering customer insights on various dental health topics has recently revealed some key findings regarding the current color teeth people have and how frequently they have whitened their teeth in the past 5 years. Overall across all countries, 42.6 per cent report that they have ‘sparkling white’ teeth, while 30 per cent responded ‘yellow’. At a closer look into demographics, half of Canadian respondents said their teeth are ‘yellow’ with no respondents choosing the ‘sparkling white’ answer in comparison to American participants to the study where 80 per cent deemed their teeth to be the highest color of white.
When asked about the perceived safety of at-home whitening, over 54 per cent said it is safe with just under 10 per cent considering it risky. Scaled down to country specific, both Canadian and American patients agreed. However, when asked about in-office teeth whitening, the percentage of those who deem it as safe grew to over 61 per cent, thus revealing that to some extent there is a belief that having the procedure professionally done is preferred over doing it at home.
In terms of how frequent individuals from around the world have their teeth whitening, the majority (27.5 per cent) revealed they do it twice a year while for over 24 per cent is more of an annual treatment. Interestingly enough, Canadian respondents were split into those who whiten their teeth at least twice a year and those who have never done it or they used to and ceased to do it.
Another key finding showed that when asked about the risks to damaging enamel, irritating gums, destroying teeth or leading to cavities, respondents neither agreed nor disagreed with the statements. This reveals a big gap in awareness and education when it comes to teeth whitening, even among those who have the treatment more frequently than others.
Overall, the general sentiment towards teeth whitening is positive all around the world with just a tiny population being reluctant to try it.