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November 21, 2006

But Will They Ever Be White Enough?

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Teeth-whitening is now the country's most requested cosmetic procedure, reports MSNBC's Diane Mapes. I wasn't entirely surprised to learn this fact. The radioactive-teeth epidemic of the last few years has left my own smile looking dingy -- nicotine-stained, despite the fact that I don't smoke. The success of the teeth-whitening industry has left me feeling like an old house in bad need of a fresh paint job.

The demand for whitening continues to grow rapidly despite the fact that bleaching procedures can lead to hypersensitivity and even, in some cases, to a need for reparative root-canal work. One woman who overdid her treatment found six months later that her teeth had turned semi-transparent. "I thought if a little bleach is good, a lot must be really good," she told Mapes. "But it's not that way. Your teeth will never be porcelain white, like your toilet."



posted by Michael at November 21, 2006


Just the kind of interesting information that I've been looking for recently! Maybe Michael or someone else can elaborate a bit on this topic and answer a question I've had about those tooth whitening toothpastes.

I don't care a bit about tooth whitening but have very sensitive teeth (which I'm assuming is a result of thin-ish enamel) and, therefore, look for toothpastes that alleviate tooth sensitivity (while still fighting cavities). I've noticed that both "Crest" and "Colgate" (which are a lot less expensive than "Sensodyne") seem to have phased out their toothpastes that soley treat sensitivity in favor of toothpastes that supposedly treat both sensitivity and whiten teeth simultaneously -- which seems to me to be something of a contradiction (especially given what Michael has said in his post). It seems to me that any toothpaste that whitens teeth with either bleach (however slight) or increased abrasion (however slight) is going to make anyone's teeth -- but most especially someone with sensitive teeth -- worse off to some extent, rather than better. (Although I can see that, for those not having sensitive teeth, such a trade off could be worthwhile.)

Eventually I'm probably going to call the "800" numbers of both "Crest" and "Colgate" to see what they have to say about this, but I'm wondering what kind of information or articles more impartial consumers, like Michael and others, have run across on this topic.

Thanks in advance for any info or articles that people may be able to furnish!

Posted by: Benjamin Hemric on November 22, 2006 11:25 AM

As someone with sensitive teeth, I can endorse Sensodyne. A few weeks of brushing with Sensodyne and I was doing no more wincing at cold or heat. No impact on the whiteness of my teeth, though ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 22, 2006 11:45 AM

No reason why you can't brush with baking soda. Will not hurt the teeth at all and will not provoke sensitive teeth. Cheap and does the job.

Posted by: TW on November 22, 2006 4:38 PM

After your reference to the Altman bit at The Onion, I was immediately reminded of another bit:

"U.S. Dentists Can't Make Nation's Teeth Any Damn Whiter"

I know wherefrom you speak when you mentioned feeling your teeth were dingy, with all these super-white smiles walking about.

Posted by: ChrisR on November 22, 2006 9:37 PM

I had my teeth whitened and they do look better, but they are not radioactive-white as you put it. It's just not possible for everyone. Also, lots of the celebrities with the uber-white pearlies have caps, I think, which sounds horrible to me.

Posted by: MD on November 24, 2006 1:31 PM

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