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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of “Multi-Level Marketing” companies, or “MLMs”. Also referred to as “pyramid selling”, “network marketing”, and “referral marketing”, these companies convince eager recruits to buy up a lot of product stock, then re-sell it to family and friends. Sellers are also encouraged to recruit more sellers, who will sell the product to their family and friends, and so on and so forth.

Popular MLM products in recent years have included essential oils, makeup, leggings, and dietary supplements. Now, the list has expanded to include another trendy product…toothpaste. In today’s post, our South Park dentist explains why many of these MLM toothpastes are definitely not dentist-approved, and can even actively harm your teeth.

Abrasive Minerals  

Many MLM toothpastes promise to make your teeth “instantly” whiter by several shades. To fulfill that promise, they add harsh abrasives to their formulas that essentially erode the tooth enamel. Abrasive additives range from silica, one of the major constituents of sand, to aluminum oxide, a crystalline substance often used as a starting material for the smelting of aluminum metal. Brushing with these minerals has almost the same effect as rubbing sandpaper on your teeth’s delicate enamel. Not only will it remove the enamel, causing your teeth to become more sensitive and prone to damage, it won’t work to whiten the teeth: once the white enamel is worn down, the yellowish dentin beneath will start to show through.

Harsh Pigments & Chemicals

Some MLM toothpastes like AP24 also contain titanium dioxide, a pigment that is often added to white paint. While titanium dioxide can keep teeth (and walls) nice and white, it doesn’t have the same long-term effects on teeth, and will only help to temporarily mask surface stains. MLM toothpastes also can contain sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium sulfate, commonly added to detergents, garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers, and car wash soaps. Both chemicals , as well as titanium dioxide, have been shown to irritate skin, eyes, and hair in children and adults.

True Teeth Whitening vs. Stain Removal

While they may differ on price, marketing strategies, and selling points, MLM toothpastes have one big thing in common with drugstore whitening toothpastes: they don’t actually whiten the teeth. Over-the-counter whitening products only have the strength to scrub away surface stains; they don’t address the discoloration underneath. True tooth whitening only occurs when a peroxide compound is put in contact with the enamel for an extended period of time. And since prescription-strength peroxide comes with greater allergy and health risks, it must be either administered or prescribed by a licensed dentist who can supervise treatment.

Long story short: unless you’re applying a peroxide product to your teeth for 30 minutes or more, you’re eroding the teeth, not bleaching them.

Need Professional Tooth Whitening in South Park? Stop by 32 Inspired today! To book an appointment with a South Park cosmetic dentist, please click here.

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