How Do Whitening Mouthwashes Work?

Did you know that there are mouthwashes available that claim to brighten your smile? How do whitening mouthwashes work? Should you try them to address your discoloration? While they may help address very minor teeth stains, for major results you still benefit from professional teeth whitening solutions.

Whitening Mouthwashes

A whitening mouthwash contains many of the same ingredients as your typical ones and can help fight oral bacteria. However, they also contain ingredients designed to remove discoloration, such as diluted hydrogen peroxide, poloxamer 47, and sodium phosphate. As mentioned above, these may help you maintain a bright smile following a professional treatment or address minor stains. For more serious discoloration you may need cosmetic treatment.

What Causes Discoloration?

Why do our teeth become stained? The most common form, extrinsic stains, occur as a result of the foods and drinks we consume, such as those with high sugar content or that contain dark pigments that stain the teeth. Smoking and age can also lead to surface stains. However, in some cases the discoloration actually appears below the surface. Known as intrinsic stains, they form as a result of trauma to the tooth, fluorosis, or the use of certain medicines, such as tetracycline. Knowing the cause of your stains is the first step towards finding the most appropriate treatment.

Professional Treatment Options

For surface stains and minor intrinsic discoloration we can recommend KoR Whitening. First, you receive an initial office visit. Then we send you home with a bleaching gel and a set of trays. You fill the trays and wear them for a set amount of time each day. After a week to ten days your teeth may be brightened by multiple shades. For severe intrinsic stains we may actually mask them with porcelain veneers.


Calcagno Cosmetic and Family Dentistry offer expert services including teeth whitening, Six Month Smiles, Invisalign, root canals, and CEREC crowns. To schedule a consultation, please call (507) 218-8936. Dr. Gilly Calcagno and Dr. Kara Heimer welcome and serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, Austin, and the surrounding communities.