According to MSNBC, American spend $1.4 billion on over-the-counter teeth whiteners. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) says that teeth whitening is the No. 1 requested cosmetic service. In a whitening survey, the AACD asked Americans what they would most like to do to improve their smile. The most popular answer was having whiter and brighter teeth.
Everyone wants the teeth to sparkle and look pearly white. Naturally, many teeth whitening options are available on the market that promise a whiter smile. There are toothpastes, gels, rinses, trays, strips, and professional bleaching.
Now there’s teeth whitening gum that promises to whiten, freshen, and protect. Here are some of the key ingredients found in gum whitening products:
- Titanium dioxide
- Baking soda
- Citrate / citric acid
- Tetrasodium pyrophosphate
- Sodium ascorbate and malic acid
Although the different products have different key ingredients, they all work similarly. The gum acts as an oxidizing agent or abrasive that removes stains. Or they coat teeth to prevent plaque and bacteria from sticking.
Using chewing gum to whiten your teeth is easy. Remove gum from package and chew until the flavor is gone.
But does whitening chewing gum work?
Before answering that, know that two things cause teeth to lose their whiteness. The first is that tooth enamel wears down over time. It reveals a darker layer called dentin. The second is that the enamel’s porous material absorbs the color from food, liquids, smoking, and tobacco. These all stain the enamel causing it to have the faded yellow tint.
In a Good Housekeeping study, testers chewed whitening gums four times a day for six weeks. The results were minimal. In the best case, extensive chewing gum may have whitened teeth by one shade.
Orthodontist Dr. Scott Frey says that studies have found that all chewing gums can reduce staining somewhat. They don’t make teeth whiter. He recommends chewing xylitol gum after meals for stain prevention.
A more effective method is to use professional teeth whitening like KöR Whitening. Unlike most whitening gels that only treat the teeth for 25 to 35 minutes, KöR contains technology that lasts six to 10 hours. This is a safe method that cleans debris between the enamel rods and whitens the teeth.
If you decide to chew gum more often, remember it does not replace the recommended daily oral care routine of proper brushing and flossing. Nor does it replace getting your teeth cleaned regularly.