Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tooth Whitening Kits

Before the days of tooth whitening kits, we had to go to the dentist to have our teeth bleached - like having your hair dyed by a hairdresser, or getting your nails done. Now, there are over the counter products available for a do-it-yourself teeth bleaching job. But, like bleaching your own hair, there are risks to skipping the expense of having a professional do it. Select your bleaching product with care.

Some tooth whitening gel is applied to the surface of the teeth and left on overnight. This type of product often contains alcohol or glycerin because you need it to dry quickly once it is applied to your teeth - after all, the mouth is a wet place and if the product does not dry before you close your mouth, some of it will get rubbed off by your lips and tongue. There are two problems with these tooth whitening kits. One is that you may indeed rub some of the gel off, resulting in a patchy bleaching job. The other is that substances like alcohol can have a drying effect on all the tissues of the mouth, and this will contribute to bad breath.

Other tooth whitening kits use bleaching strips that are applied to the teeth. These stay on reliably, but often do not contact the entire surface of the tooth - the indented surfaces between the teeth don't get bleached while the fronts of the teeth do. This can result in an odd visual effect that is probably not what you want. Depending on the brand and your teeth, you may get satisfactory results with tooth whitening gel and other kits, but you may also get a less that stellar result.

The best tooth whitening gel is one that is applied to the teeth by covering them with a form-fitting tray full of whitening agent. This bathes all surfaces of the tooth in the bleach. The product should contain neither alcohol nor glycerin. Effective bleaching agents usually contain a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide. Clean your teeth thoroughly before using the treatment, and leave the tray on for the time specified in the tooth whitening kits instructions. If you use the right kit, you should get good results without doing any harm to your mouth

R. Drysdale is a freelance writer with more than 25 years experience as a health care professional. She is a contributing editor to Tooth Whitening Kits, a blog dedicated to the treatment of bad breath.

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