Do Tooth Whitening Gums Really Work at Whitening Teeth?

Whitening GumWhitening gums do not produce the whitening effects we typically think of with tooth whitening, and they won’t really make your teeth whiter. However, they do reduce the formation of certain types of dark staining, the types of dark stains that your dentist usually scratches off with an instrument at appointments. They accomplish this through added abrasives and/or ingredients that make stains easier to rub off while chewing the gum. Let’s take a look at some ingredients in popular whitening gums.

Key Ingredients in Whitening Gums

Orbit White Gum

  • Titanium Dioxide – This ingredient is listed as being added for color, but it is an abrasive and I have seen it listed in some patents as an ingredient responsible for whitening. It helps remove stain by increasing the abrasiveness of the gum.
  • Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking soda) – Baking soda is a mild abrasive and will help remove stains by increasing the overall abrasiveness of the gum.

Trident White Gum

  • Titanium Dioxide – This ingredient is listed as being added for color, but it is an abrasive and I have seen it listed in some patents as an ingredient responsible for whitening. It helps remove stain by increasing the abrasiveness of the gum.

Vitacare Whitening Gum

  • Citrate/Citric Acid – These chelate calcium and are acidic in the oral environment, thus they can make stains easier to remove through their eorisive properties.
  • Titanium Dioxide – This ingredient is listed as being added for color, but it is an abrasive and I have seen it listed in some patents as an ingredient responsible for whitening. It removes stain by increasing the abrasiveness of the gum.
  • Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate – An anti-plaque and anti-calculus agent (due to calcium chelating properties) that is meant to make stains easier to abrade off.
  • Sodium Ascorbate & Malic Acid – Both are mildly acidic in the oral environment and may make stains easier to rub off through their erosive properties.

Supersmile Whitening Gum

  • Calprox – Listed as a proprietary form of Calcium Peroxide, which is an oxidizing agent and can help make stains easier to rub off during chewing.

Ironically, studies have shown that all gums reduce these types of stains so in my opinion the enhanced abrasion of whitening gums is not worth it. This is especially true when you consider that after meals our oral pH is more acidic and our enamel is “softer.” Overall you are much better off simply chewing xylitol gum after meals because you’ll get similar stain prevention.

About the author

Scott Frey is a reknown Orthodontist, professional speaker, and founder of the More than Smiles Movement. Follow him on Twitter.

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