Teeth whitening has infiltrated into every oral care product that you can think of, all the way from toothpastes to mouthwashes. Did you know that it has recently even made its way into chewing gum? That’s right, whitening is now available in its first consumable product.
As amazing as it may sound, what makes it even more impressive is how you use it. You don’t have to do anything special for it because you simply chew it as if it was any other gum. The only difference is that this type of gum will whiten your teeth while you do it.
You probably have a ton of questions on your mind right now and we don’t blame you. Luckily for you, we’re here to answer every single one of them.
How does it whiten your teeth?
Most teeth whitening gum will make your teeth whiter by mechanically removing food and stains from the surfaces of your teeth. The continuous chewing motion will pull the staining foods off of your teeth and prevent them from adhering to them.
This makes your teeth appear whiter because there is less colored gunk covering them. It will also prevent them from becoming more stained because it decreases the amount of time the stains have on your teeth. The longer the stains are stuck to your enamel, the more time it has to diffuse into your tooth and become permanent. Therefore whitening gum is a great preventative product.
Teeth whitening gum is able to do all of this due to its texture which is sticky and mildly abrasive. In that regard, it makes it very similar to how most whitening toothpastes work. These toothpastes whiten your teeth by mechanically removing stains due to abrasives in its formulation.
The point that we’re trying to make across to you is that both teeth whitening gum and whitening toothpastes will mechanically remove stains. That does make your teeth whiter but it does not whiten your teeth the way that chemical bleaching does.
When you get them professionally whitened by your dentist, all of their products will chemically bleach your teeth. The difference is that their products contain hydrogen peroxide which can oxidize tooth stains. This is a completely different whitening process from chewing whitening gum.
There is currently one brand of teeth whitening gum which can chemically oxidize stains because it contains peroxide. The Supersmile professional whitening gum contains the proprietary Calprox® which is actually just calcium peroxide, which is used in a lot of bleaching oils.
Although there haven’t been any studies about the whitening efficacy of calcium peroxide chewing gum so we can’t really say for certain that it’ll bleach your teeth. We did find one study for whitening gum. The results were that a nicotine gum was more efficacious in whitening teeth than teeth whitening gum. That wasn’t very helpful at all…
Nonetheless, there have been studies about the efficacy of calcium peroxide in toothpastes. The toothpastes with it did demonstrate some bleaching potential when compared to those without it. That means the supersmile gum which contains it should be able to bleach your teeth since the chemistry of the ingredient remains the same.
Is it actually effective?
Teeth whitening gum is mildly effective at best because if it were, a lot more people would be using and talking about this product. We can come up with a couple of reasons as to why it probably won’t give you the type of results that you’re looking for.
- Whitens the wrong surface. All whitening products prioritize the facial or cheek/lip facing surfaces of your teeth. That is because when we smile, that is what people see. Chewing gum on the other hand will only whiten the chewing surfaces of your teeth because that is what the gum comes into contact with. That is the wrong surface of the tooth which we’re trying to whiten!
- Very low peroxide concentration. Supersmile does not list the concentration of peroxide on their product but if we had to guess, it is probably very low. The reason is because you’re not supposed to swallow concentrated peroxide. It also doesn’t taste very good if you put too much of it.
- Whiten the wrong teeth. We chew gum with our back molars and not our front teeth. It is the front incisors that we want to whiten because those are the ones that people see when we smile. Therefore it whitens the wrong teeth.
Even if the whitening gum had a very high concentration of peroxide, we would still say that it won’t give you the results that you want. It is all due to the fact that it’ll still whiten the wrong surface. When we talk about white teeth, we mostly want the facial surfaces and not the chewing surfaces to be whiter. You don’t chew gum with the facial surfaces of your teeth!
Is whitening gum safe?
Regular whitening gum without peroxide is perfectly safe to use since it doesn’t contain any bleaching agents. Their ingredients are really no different from your everyday gum.
The gum with peroxide in it may potentially be harmful since excessive intake of highly concentrated peroxide can be dangerous. However, gum which was formulated with peroxide seems to contain a very low concentration of it. That was done intentionally because you’re meant to swallow your saliva while chewing it.
Low concentrations of peroxide are not harmful when swallowed because our saliva contains enzymes which break it down. Salivary peroxidases will inactivate hydrogen peroxide without you having to even tell it to.
Studies have also shown that peroxide will get rapidly detoxified as soon as it enters the body. Very little of it makes it into the bloodstream. That makes it not an issue even if you were pregnant and using it, at least according to that study.
Is whitening gum worth it?
In our opinion, whitening gum is definitely worth a try and the primary reason is that it is dirt cheap. It is inexpensive so that even if it doesn’t work, you wouldn’t have lost out on anything at all. If it does work then its great because you’ve found an affordable way to make your teeth white.
Nonetheless, even if chewing gum doesn’t make your teeth whiter, it is still good to chew it after meals. According to the American Dental Association, chewing gum will stimulate salivary flow. That is beneficial to reducing the chances of getting cavities by washing away food from your teeth. The extra saliva will buffer the oral environment to make it less conducive to decay as well!
In our opinion, these benefits far outweigh having whiter teeth. White teeth improve the cosmetics but less cavities improve the health of your mouth.
Teeth whitening gum can whiten your teeth but it may not give you the results that you were hoping for.
Most of the gum will whiten by mechanically pulling the staining foods and plaque off of your teeth. This is because the gum is sticky and mildly abrasive. One brand of gum even contains peroxide which can chemically oxidize your tooth!
However even if it can make your chompers whiter, it is not going to give you dramatic results. Trying to whiten your teeth with chewing gum will whiten the wrong teeth and the wrong surfaces.
- We only chew gum with the chewing surfaces of our back molars.
- The teeth we want to be white are the facial surfaces of our front teeth. This surface faces the lips and cheeks.
Nonetheless we still think it is good to chew gum especially after a meal since it helps to produce saliva. That helps to keep our mouth clean and also reduce the chances of getting cavities.
Therefore it is still worth a try to see if it works for you. The worse case scenario if it doesn’t work is that you simply have to give another product a try. If all else fails you can just have them professionally whitened.