Teeth – To Whiten Or Not To Whiten
Humans have always valued esthetically pleasing facial features, but the esthetic itself changes often over time. There was a time when buxom women were the height of womanly beauty, as opposed to today’s ideal of paring the fat down as much as is humanly possible. Similarly, although the white of the teeth displayed in dental product ads is never found in nature, people today go to an immense amount of effort to match that sheen. Myriad home remedies, expensive products and even more expensive treatments are all de rigueur with everyone even slightly conscious of their appearance. Unlike popular opinion, however, teeth are the one area where not meeting convention does not have even the suggestion of a deleterious effect one’s health.
The question, then, is whether to whiten or not to whiten ones teeth. Teeth whitening India refers to altering the coloring of the enamel that covers your teeth, often by bleaching. Teeth get their color from the way the enamel reflects light. Under the enamel is dentine which is yellow. Tooth color depends on the thickness and the color of the enamel. As people age, the enamel wears down and more and more of the dentine is visible as the enamel turns translucent. Apart from the fact that, naturally, healthy teeth are more of a yellowish ivory than a pearly white, yellowed teeth are caused by eating and drinking dark foods such as coffee and chocolates, smoking, and inadequate removal of plaque on a daily basis.
Tooth stains are of two types – internal, caused by factors early in an individual’s age, when the enamel is still forming; and external, which is caused by your consumption patterns and your health, and can be fixed by bleaching, and laser treatments. External stains are a lot more common, and are a lot easier to get rid of, at least temporarily.
Teeth whitening methods include over the counter bleaching products that contain hydrogen peroxide, dental kits that include moulds into which bleaching products are poured so that the user can affix them to their teeth for a prescribed period of time, whitening toothpastes (whose efficacy is doubted), and a host of dentist assisted procedures from bleaching to laser treatments.
While bleaching, when carried out as prescribed, carries no significant side effects, it can damage the enamel over the long term if carried out too much. People can get obsessive about the color of their teeth, and can overuse bleaching products, which can lead to a lot of pain and permanent damage. It is always better to use even OTC teeth whitening products only after consulting with your dentist. It is even better to opt for the procedure to be carried out in the dentist’s office.
To reiterate, a slight yellow tinge on healthy teeth – especially when they belong to someone who practices good dental hygiene, brushes and flosses regularly, does not smoke, and avoids foods and drinks that are known to be detrimental to teeth – is perfectly normal, and the only added benefit derived from teeth whitening in such a case is cosmetic. However, those who wish to have their teeth whitened should follow dentists’ directions in order to avoid some of the more virulent side effects of overuse.