A new video from the American Chemical Society has explained the science behind hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide gel used to bleach the teeth, and whiten it.
According to the educative video, the tough enamel layer covering our teeth is largely made up of a mineral called hydroxyapatite, which is composed of calcium and phosphate ions arranged into crystals.
It says molecules of foods and drink often find their way to the enamel rods, adding that brushing, flossing and rinsing will only remove most of it, but some of the stains will stick around.
In the incisive analysis transcribed by Daily Mail, it is either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide gel that will help to remove the stains by bleaching the teeth.
Both of these gels work on the same principle, by oxidising the molecules staining teeth.
Once a person places the polyethylene strip on the teeth, the peroxide gels react with the stains to remove electrons.
This breaks up the part of the molecule associated with colour – its chromophore, which gives the colour depending on the wavelengths of light it absorbs.
Disrupting the chromophore is the same mechanism used by bleach products that remove stains from clothes.
But while people may opt for a mouthwash, the active ingredient will be peroxide.
And the video explains that due to the longer contact time with the teeth, the gels will win out in terms of whitening performance.
The easiest solution may be to reach for whitening toothpaste, and kill two birds with one stone by whitening teeth as you brush them, but this method fails to scratch the surface.
Although whitening toothpastes may contain abrasive elements such as silica, the video explains that they may only clean the surface and don’t reach down to the enamel.
Some of the whitening toothpastes contain a substance called blue covarine.
‘This binds to the surface of your teeth adding a bit of blue to balance the yellowish gunk on [your teeth],’ the video explained. The effect is designed to filter the teeth’s hue.
Assuaging safety fears of using whitening products at home, it confirms that the over the counter products are certified as safe – personal sensitivity notwithstanding – and are essentially the same as what a dentist would use.
Overall, the best method to clean teeth is peroxide, but results will vary depending on the type and degree of staining a person has.
But undoubtedly, the fastest results will come from a trip to the dentist.
Culled from Daily Mail