What about teeth whitening pens? Good or not? Teeth whitening pens do have a very limited benefit. But, first let’s talk about where they have almost zero benefit: Whitening pens are used to dab or brush hydrogen or carbamide peroxide onto the facial tooth surfaces.
There are two main problems with this approach:
1) Saliva on the teeth is heavily concentrated with the natural antioxidant enzyme, glutathione peroxidase. This antioxidant enzyme instantly destroys the peroxide by breaking it down to water and oxygen, neither of which whitens teeth. The user (patient) may believe the peroxide is working because they see the bubbling. What they don’t understand is that the bubbles are oxygen, which has zero teeth whitening ability.
2) Insufficient duration – whitening products have nearly no whitening effect without significant duration of effective whitening gel coating the surfaces of the teeth for an extended time. Even if you were able to keep your lips stretched out for a longer time, the “effectiveness” would not be there because the antioxidant in your saliva will have destroyed the whitening gel.
So is there any benefit to using teeth whitening pens? Yep, albeit a small benefit, when you eat or drink staining foods and drinks, those staining foods have what we call “substantivity”. This simply means that those staining foods “stick to” the surfaces of teeth.
As soon as a stain sticks to a tooth, it starts absorbing into the tooth structure immediately. So let’s say you have red wine with dinner, and you don’t brush your teeth until 4-5 hours after you have your red wine and other staining foods. By the time you brush your teeth to remove those stains from the surface of your teeth, a tiny bit of stain will have already soaked inside the microstructure of the teeth. When this happens over and over, every day or night for weeks, months and years, your teeth darken significantly.
The time to use a peroxide-based teeth whitening pen is immediately after you consume something staining. The oxygenation caused by the saliva antioxidant breaking down the peroxide into oxygen and water creates “scrubbing bubbles”, which will help to cleanse the stains off the surface of the teeth instantly.
“Though teeth whitening pens have almost no effectiveness in the process of whitening teeth, they can be somewhat helpful in the maintenance of whiteness of the teeth.”
Though teeth whitening pens have almost no effectiveness in the process of whitening teeth, they can be somewhat helpful in the maintenance of whiteness of the teeth.
However, for the maximum effectiveness to benefit the patient, it requires the patient to carry the whitening pen around and use it immediately after eating or drinking staining foods/beverages. Women are more likely to do this than men.