I get it. You want whiter teeth and there are a million toothpastes out there that claim to do this. But did you stop to think how it might be performing this miraculous feat?
The majority of them work by being abrasive or scratching that stain right off of your teeth. So, if it is scratching the stain off, what is it doing to your enamel?
That’s right, the toothpaste is damaging your teeth. Enamel is hard but with repeated attacks, scratches will form, then those scratches will pick up stain and you just defeated the purpose of the whitening toothpaste.
With repeated use, notches can form on the tooth usually near the gumline where the enamel and the softer tooth root meet. As more of the root wears away, the notch can approach the nerve and blood supply of the tooth and can cause sensitivity, exposure of the nerve, infection, fracture and tooth loss.
These notches, called abfraction lesions, are considered a modern day dental problem as they have yet to be observed by anthropologists studying the teeth of the hunter-gatherer population. While there may be additional contributing factors such as stress on the teeth when functioning and acids, it is believed the addition of abrasive toothpaste has produced these lesions.
Check the list below and see where your toothpaste ranks. If it is in the yellow or pink sections, you may want to consider changing. Note that each brand can have toothpastes that range from low to high abrasiveness so do not assume that all Arm & Hammer products are low or all Colgate products are high.
And if you have notches (abfraction lesions) that have formed in your teeth, consult your dentist!