What is Tooth Polishing?
Polishing your teeth is one of the most important things you can do to improve their appearance. A tooth polish removes stains from your teeth, makes them shine and looks better than without any treatment. There are many types of tooth polishes available but they all have a common feature – they remove stains from your teeth. However, there are different kinds of stain which may not be removed completely with just a regular toothpaste or even with a toothbrush. Some of these stains include:
Dental plaque (a type of bacteria)
Food particles (like food particles in your mouth after eating)
Alcohol/drugs residue on your teeth (from drinking alcohol or drugs like cocaine)
Paint, varnish and other materials left behind by previous owners of the teeth. These substances may cause discolouration and damage to the surface of the teeth.
The best way to remove these stains is with a toothpolish. Toothpastes are used to treat some of the above mentioned stains, but they don’t remove all of them. Other types of toothpastes may contain chemicals that are harmful for your health. So, it’s always better to use a proper toothpaste which will provide long lasting results and will not harm your body.
Why Do You Need A Toothpolish?
Tooth polishing is often referred to as teeth whitening. It makes your teeth brighter and removes stains from them. It can lighten dark spots on your teeth or remove stains caused by smoking, tea, coffee or red wine. By removing these stains, tooth polishing can make your teeth look several shades whiter than they would without any treatment. However, not all tooth polishes are the same and some of them can damage your teeth or cause other problems.
How Do You Choose A Good Toothpolish?
The best tooth polishes are the ones that suit you and your needs. This is determined by two factors: your lifestyle and health conditions and the condition of your teeth. If, for example, you have sensitive teeth then you need to find a tooth polish that won’t irritate them. If you have fillings then you need a tooth polish that won’t damage them.
The condition of your teeth is also an important factor in choosing a good tooth polish. If your teeth are damaged, stained, sensitive or have fillings then you need to choose a tooth polish that can do something about these conditions. You also must be aware that some polishes can increase the rate at which stains appear on your teeth. Your dentist can offer more information on this matter.
What Are The Advantages?
Tooth polishes provide several benefits to your teeth such as:
Removing dark spots caused by drinking tea, coffee, red wine or smoking.
Whitening your teeth several shades. Instead of having a yellowish tint, your teeth will become white and brighter. This is especially important if you have discoloured teeth from a young age.
Making your teeth stronger and healthier. The best tooth polishes will remove calcium deposits and other materials which can damage your teeth.
Preventing tooth decay from forming by strengthening your enamel.
Cleaning your teeth, preventing plaque and killing bacteria that may cause gum disease.
Removing tarter and debris from your teeth, tongue and below the gums.
Removing stains caused by previously applied whitening products (whitening strips, for example).
Are There Any Disadvantages?
Of course, no product is without its downsides and tooth polishes are no exception. Here are some of them:
Some tooth polishes may damage the surface of your teeth, especially front teeth or any fillings you might have. This damage can only be fixed by a dental procedure.
The chemicals in some tooth polishes may cause allergic reactions for certain people. This can be from the whitening solution itself or other ingredients in the solution.
Some tooth polishes may slowly wash away from your teeth if you drink or eat a lot of fluids or foods.
Not all of them are as effective and may require multiple applications to achieve the desired effect.
It is best to talk to your dentist before choosing a tooth polish so they can give you more information about your personal needs and which tooth polish is right for you.
How Do You Apply It?
There are three different methods to apply a tooth polish. The right method is the one that suits you and your needs.
The first method involves the solution being applied by a mouth tray, which fits over your teeth like a gum shield. The tray has holes which allow the solution to seep under your gums and between your teeth.
The second method involves a small tube of solution, which you place on your toothbrush. The toothbrush should have soft bristles so that it can gently reach under your gums and between your teeth. You then brush the polish on your teeth as you would with a regular toothpaste.
The final method involves placing some of the solution on your finger and rubbing it directly on your teeth, under your gums and on your tongue. Rub it in small circles for about two minutes then rinse.
You should consult your dentist before applying any tooth polish to avoid an allergic reaction.
How Much Do They Cost?
Prices can vary depending on the solution you decide to buy. The most expensive can cost up to $100, depending on the brand and which system you decide on using.
The average price for a good quality tooth polish is around $50.
Does It Really Work?
Tooth polishes are an effective way to achieve a dazzling smile. That’s why they make such a lovely gift!
Although different manufacturers have different ingredients, the most commonly found ones are:
Glyoxylide – this is a very popular ingredient in tooth polishes. It works by altering the surface of your teeth and binding to stains. This makes them more easily removed during brushing.
Ammonia – this ingredient whitens your teeth using a process called oxidation. It breaks down stains and polishes your teeth at the same time.
Hydrogen peroxide – this ingredient kills bacteria in your mouth, helping to prevent plaque build-up and gum disease. It also gives a fresh feeling to your breath.
Calcium phosphate – this ingredient is a polish which helps to give a smooth feel to your teeth, making them feel extra clean.
Are They Safe?
Tooth polishes are safe if used correctly and in the right quantities. Always follow the instructions on the packaging and consult your dentist before use.
They are safe for anyone except children under the age of six due to the risk of choking if they swallow it.
Before and After
The before and after photos show the incredible transformation which a tooth polish can achieve. The below image on the left is the client’s tooth prior to treatment. As you can see, the surface of the tooth is uneven and has multiple stains on it.
After one use of a tooth polish, the tooth appears much brighter and cleaner (middle image). The after image on the right shows the tooth after several uses. Not only is it significantly cleaner than it was before but there are no stains left on it at all!
The images show the incredible difference a tooth polish can make. If you have any doubts about whether or not your teeth could benefit from a polish, look at the difference these photos show. You’d be amazed by what a little polishing can do!
Does It Really Last?
The results aren’t everlasting but they can last for a really long time.
Tooth polishes contain abrasive particles which help to gently scrub off surface stains on your teeth. These abrasive particles act like little scrubbers and, over time, can gradually wear down the enamel on your teeth leaving them more prone to staining.
However, tooth polishes shouldn’t be used too much as the abrasive particles can also damage your enamel if used excessively. It’s best to use a tooth polish on an occasional basis to remove stains.
How Often Should You Use It?
This really depends on the type of stains you have and how bad they are.
For mild stains, you should use a tooth polish once every couple of months.
For heavy stains, you should use a tooth polish once every week.
There are also different types of tooth polishes available. Some can be used more frequently than others. Read the packaging instructions carefully before use.
Using a tooth polish more frequently than the recommended amount can cause damage to your teeth and excessive tooth sensitivity.
Does It Hurt?
Not usually, no. Some tooth polishes can cause minor tooth sensitivity but this shouldn’t last long and you should avoid particularly abrasive polishes if you have particularly sensitive teeth.
A tooth polish shouldn’t hurt too much and it shouldn’t feel like your teeth are breaking down. You shouldn’t experience any pain while using your toothbrush and you should be able to comfortably drink hot or cold liquids. If you do experience pain, stop immediately and rinse your mouth out before speaking to a dental professional.
Concerns and Cautions
Don’t use a tooth polish which is alcohol based as this can lead to dry mouth and too much dry mouth can lead to tooth decay.
Also avoid using a tooth polish which contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) as this can cause damage to your teeth and gums when used excessively.
Consider using an ADA (American Dental Association) approved tooth polish which are safer and less abrasive than non-approved alternatives.
Stop using a tooth polish which causes you pain or discomfort. Pain isn’t a normal sensation and you should seek advice from a dental professional if you feel discomfort when using any over the counter products.
Don’t swallow the tooth polish as this isn’t good for your teeth or your general health. Rinse your mouth out well after use.
It’s important to remember that stains on your enamel aren’t healthy and they can cause damage to the surface of your teeth. Always try to remove them to prevent further damage!
Sources & references used in this article:
Air polishing: a review of current literature by SJ Graumann, ML Sensat… – American Dental …, 2013 – jdh.adha.org
COMPOSITE VS. PORCELAIN’S: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW by RL Holt – 1986 – Macmillan
Chemical mechanical polishing using mixed abrasive slurries by DJ Clark – 2017 – dentistrytoday.com