Brushing with a toothpaste formulated for whitening is a simple way to brighten your smile gradually or maintain your professional teeth whitening treatments.
However, to break up, lift stains, and achieve their whitening results, these kinds of toothpaste contain mild abrasives (and so do other toothpaste formulas). Additionally, some people experience increased tooth sensitivity as a result of brushing with whitening toothpaste.
So, naturally, people often wonder whether or not using whitening toothpaste regularly can actually damage their teeth and tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and other oral health concerns.
Is Whitening Toothpaste Safe for Teeth?
The short answer is yes, whitening toothpaste is safe for teeth when it is paired with the right toothbrush and proper brushing techniques.
All toothpaste formulas are rated with what’s called a Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) score that measures how abrasive a toothpaste is. The safety threshold for teeth is 250, according to the American Dental Association, and 200 according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Despite some contrary opinions, the American Dental Association – the most trusted voice in dental care – considers any toothpaste with an RDA score of 249 or below to be safe. Most toothpaste formulas on the market range from single-digit RDA scores to scores around 200.
Every whitening toothpaste on the market that carries the American Dental Association’s approval is below the safety threshold and considered to be safe for your teeth. When shopping for toothpaste, always check that it has been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
That being said, any toothpaste can be too abrasive for the teeth and damage enamel when used improperly. Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with bristles that are too stiff adds additional abrasion, resulting in damaged enamel.
To protect your teeth and keep your enamel strong, it’s essential to follow the whitening toothpaste manufacturer’s instructions. This ensures you expose your teeth to the right amount of whitening products at a frequency that is also considered safe.
No matter what kind of toothpaste you use, you should also always employ proper brushing techniques to protect your enamel from further abrasion.
The Safest Way to Brush Your Teeth
Although enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body, it is still relatively delicate and can be damaged if you brush your teeth with too much pressure or with a toothbrush that has stiff bristles.
Additionally, when you brush your teeth, do not apply too much pressure. The bristles of your toothbrush should glide easily over the surface of your teeth.
To make sure you are not brushing too hard, do not brush fast or vigorously. Instead, brush softly and slowly, focusing on only one or two teeth at a time, to prevent your brush from moving quickly and pressing too hard on the surface of your teeth and gums.
Sometimes, people start brushing too hard when their toothbrushes wear out because the bristles are no longer able to effectively remove plaque and food debris from the surface of the teeth. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every month or whenever the bristles appear frayed or bent out of their original shape.
How to Pick a Safe Toothbrush
To be on the safe side, we always recommend selecting a toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles, instead of the medium or hard varieties that can be overly abrasive.
Investing in a high-quality electric toothbrush is another way to protect your teeth from brushing too hard because these toothbrushes are designed to do the work for you.
When brushing with an electric toothbrush, you should simply glide the brush head along the surface of your teeth at a slow speed, covering the front and back sides of each tooth equally.
If you are not sure which type of traditional toothbrush or electric toothbrush is the best choice for you, we welcome you to ask our dentist for a recommendation. We can provide you with a variety of toothbrush options and help you learn the proper technique for safely brushing with each.
Professional Teeth Whitening in West Bend
Whitening toothpaste offers gradual brightening, but our patients at Dentistry of West Bend can enjoy same-day results with professional teeth whitening treatments in our office.
If you would like a whiter and brighter smile, but do not want to wait for your whitening toothpaste to produce results, we encourage you to schedule a teeth whitening appointment with Dr. Jared Harding. Our dentist can talk with you about the kinds of results you can expect from professional teeth whitening treatments, in addition to providing guidance on treating tooth sensitivity while protecting your enamel with in-office fluoride treatments.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with your brighter smile, we invite you to contact Dentistry of West Bend today.