Dr Vanessa Creaven, the dentist behind family-owned brand Spotlight Whitening tells us how to get WHITER TEETH safely …
We pay great attention to our skincare these days, and our hair, and our make-up – but a crucial health/beauty aspect often gets neglected and ignored until there’s an actual problem: our teeth. With spring’s pale pink lipsticks drawing even more attention to teeth that are less than pearly-white – and, conversely, Instagrammers and people on TV whitening their teeth to such a degree that they don’t look real – we asked Dr Vanessa Creaven, the dentist behind family-owned brand Spotlight Whitening, to cut through the glare and tell us some teeth home truths.
1. Avoid charcoal toothpastes – no dentist would recommend it, says Creaven. “It’s actually very abrasive on your teeth, and it’s a huge fad. It wears away the enamel, like sanding your teeth.”
2. “Hydrogen peroxide is the only thing that can whiten teeth, safely. Our Whitening Strips use the same active ingredients as we use in our dental practice.” Regulations limit levels of hydrogen peroxide in home whitening products to below 0.1 per cent hydrogen peroxide, while dental professionals can use up to six per cent; dentist Tom Feeney notes that products need at least 3 per cent to be effective. It’s vital that if you’re considering getting your teeth whitened, you go to a dentist to ensure it’s done safely and correctly. LED light for whitening, for example, “is illegal – it can have adverse effects and can leave you with gum issues and irreversible damage,” says Creaven.
3. We might be aware of animal cruelty concerning our skincare and make-up – but did you ever think about your toothpaste? Some big brand toothpastes are still tested on animals as they are sold in China, notes Creaven.
4. Mouthwash does not have to contain alcohol. Spotlight have just launched White Teeth Wash (€12.99), which costs a bit more than your regular mouthwash, but it contains hydrogen peroxide to help whiten teeth, and it’s alcohol-free; it contains Irish seaweed instead of alcohol as a preservative. Your mouth is 4,000 times more absorbent than your skin, says Creaven, so you should be aware of what’s actually in your toothpaste and mouthwash, since it’s the fastest way into your system.
5. Buying toothpaste can have a wider impact. All profits from Spotlight’s children’s toothpaste (with fluoride) goes to ISPCC Childline. Also, we should be considering the environmental impact of our toothpaste; it’s no good avoiding microbeads in skincare products unless we’re also aware of what’s in all the toothpaste going down the plughole too. The Creavens have an intriguing new product launching in September with this in mind. They are also focusing on reducing the weight of their packaging, and developing a tube made from recycled plastic.
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