6 Dos and Donts of Teeth Whitening

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6 Do's and Don'ts of Teeth Whitening

White teeth can be a sign of good oral hygiene and can mean the difference between a proud smile and one who shows no teeth. While the whitest teeth are teeth that have never been exposed to acids or bases which can cause decay, it is nearly impossible to go through life without eating something that yellows the enamel on teeth. Advertisements around the world suggest that people who are not actively whitening are by default "actively yellowing" their smile. However, tooth care is not so black and white.

Doctors and dental hygienists have several treatments for whitening teeth, but there are many over-the-counter methods available which can help whiten the teeth. Doctors have the ability to be more vigorous in their approach since they are specially trained. However, not everyone is able to afford speciality hygienists, and thus, must do what they can on their own. Learning how to properly care for teeth, as well as prevent and treat yellow teeth, helps most anybody have pearly white teeth with minimal effort.

1: Do Brush Teeth Regularly

Dentists suggest brushing teeth at least twice per day: once in the morning and once at night. However, some might argue that brushing after a coffee or particularly acidic beverage like orange juice or tomato juice, is a good time to brush. Pay attention to the type of toothpaste used as well. Several brands of toothpaste on the market promote teeth whitening while others cater to fluoride needs, tartar buildup, and even sensitive teeth. Further, consumers can easily swap toothpaste for different brands, if the desired results are not achieved.

The Toothbrush's Role in Brushing

There is speculation on how firm the bristles on a toothbrush should be for maximum benefit. Some argue that firm bristles help remove any buildup and help score the teeth for the whitening paste. Others say that softer bristles help shine the teeth and move the paste into the crevices of the teeth which might not be touched with a firm-bristled toothbrush. While there is no consensus, it might be best to use a finger to ensure the paste coats all the teeth evenly before brushing.

2: Don't Skip Oral Hygiene

Flossing, brushing, and mouth washing are all part of good oral hygiene. Flossing removes any remaining food particles and helps remove tartar build up. Further, it promotes strong and healthy gums. If the gums become infected, it is easy to be disillusioned with brushing one's mouth if there is pain. Paying attention to the entire mouth is important, not just the enamel. While floss extracts unwanted particles, be sure not to cut the gums as paper cuts a finger. Once resistance is felt with the dental floss, it is time to move to the next tooth. Lastly, brushing twice daily, or more, removes stains before they have time to set. If the consumer forgets to brush in the morning or after a meal, he or she can easily make up for it by brushing immediately or even using mouthwash.

3: Do Use Mouthwash with Peroxide

There are dozens of brands of mouthwash on the market today. Each brand or type of mouthwash has varying ingredients. Some are alcohol-free so as not to sting the inside of the mouth. Others have fluoride to promote dentine health. If a consumer wishes to whiten the teeth, mouthwash with hydrogen peroxide or baking soda is ideal. The chemical composition of such mouthwash helps bleach the teeth and lift old stains, just as the same ingredients lift stains out of cotton. The ingredients are listed on the back of most bottles, so it should not be difficult to locate. When in doubt, ask the pharmacy or a store clerk if there is peroxide in the product or not.

Other Active Whitening Ingredients

Beyond peroxide, baking soda is credited with whitening teeth. Some websites advocate adding baking soda to toothpaste prior to brushing to add to the whitening effects of the toothpaste.

Papain is an enzyme which is naturally occurring and dissolves protein. It is said that combining papain and citrate together removes superficial teeth staining. Although not a main ingredient in mouthwash, it is present in whitening mouthwashes.

Lastly, sodium tripolyphosphate, or STP, slows growth of crystals and thus inhibits the growth of hard deposits of mineralised plaque, or calculus. When a higher concentration of sodium tripolyphosphate is mixed into mouthwash, it breaks down the stain matrix by removing calcium bridges between the stain molecule and any surface proteins on the surface of the teeth.

4: Don't Use Straight Chemicals on Teeth

While most whitening products on the market are comprised of various chemicals, it is not safe to use them in free form. A bottle of mouthwash might have 0.1 per cent peroxide, but using only 0.1 per cent on teeth without the additional ingredients to buffer the effects may cause unwanted chemical burns and hurt the skin within the mouth. A consumer should never assume that he or she understands the chemistry behind such powerful products, but rather, leave it to the doctors and medical professionals to mix and create.

5: Do Seek Advice from Professionals

When in doubt, a consumer should seek advice and help from professionals. Visiting a trained dentist for a teeth whitening regimen or for a one-stop appointment gives most anyone a noticeably whiter smile. While at-home products can work on removing most stains, stains which have been accumulating for years are best removed by professionals. Further, professional are able to provide take-home products which are not available in stores or online.

When to Seek Professional Help

Sometimes a consumer may hurt oneself while trying to do simple tasks. Below are a few instances where a consumer might want to seek professional help.

Pain Point

Why Consumer Should Seek Help

Swallowed toothpaste

Ingestion of toothpaste can lead to fluorosis as well as white spots in primary teeth

Large quantities lead to gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

Swallowed mouthwash

Swallowing small amounts of mouthwash may leave the person feeling a bit queasy or may even cause diarrhoea

In extreme cases people should seek professional help if they ingest too much or overdose

While the list above pertains mainly to swallowing poisonous amounts of chemicals, other oral injuries can happen whilst whitening teeth. Certain teeth guards, with whitening gel inside, can be swallowed and removed via the heimlich manoeuvre. Further, poking oneself with a toothbrush or cutting with dental floss are other potential injuries which can be remedied with an ice pack.

6: Don't Do Something if It Hurts

Harsh teeth whitening treatments can remove the first layer of the teeth and make them more porous. In extreme cold or hot temperatures, the user might feel sharp pains. Typically, the pain goes away after a few days. However, if it is too much to bear or not subsiding, be sure to stop the treatment straight away and seek dental products that are geared toward sensitive teeth. Further, seek medical attention if the pain is simply too much to take.

How to Buy Teeth Whitening Items on eBay

Buying items is as simple as typing in the search query within any eBay web page and reviewing the results. You can compare items with a click, and review previous consumer feedback on the products as well as the sellers. Before making your purchase double-check that the item is what you want to order, so as not to cause confusion later on. Whether you are looking for a firm-bristled toothbrush or a soft-bristled toothbrush, whitening mouthwash or fluoride mouthwash, be sure you are buying what you paid for.

Seller Feedback

Before buying items from any seller, review seller feedback located on his or her individual page. Previous consumers were encouraged to leave feedback to help the seller improve, and help future buyers understand what kind of seller they are dealing with. Just as previously left feedback can help you determine if you wanted to do business with the seller, or not, you should leave feedback after each transaction to help future buyers.


Teeth whitening can be a sensitive subject for someone who does not know how to approach it. Whether slowly self-whitening with toothpaste or using mouthwash, be sure you follow the prescribed directions. If a doctor gives you items to take home, stick to the regimen he or she gives you with the items. Use the exact amount requested. Using less than the desired amount can negate or nullify the effects of the ingredients. Further, using too much product sometimes harms the dentine on the outside of the teeth and opens the enamel up to cavities and other ailments.

Buying teeth whitening items on eBay is as simple as knowing what to look for. If you buy in bulk, be sure the expiration dates have not passed, or are not approaching. A toothbrush does not expire, and neither does floss, but be sure they come in secure packaging. Buying oral hygiene products on eBay is fairly straightforward, and if you have questions along the way, there is a support network available to help you through the process.

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