Teeth whitening gum; the effects seem short term. How does it work?

Does it mearly coat the teeth in a whitening substance?
Answers:    Xylitol is a natural, sugar-free sweetener that can not be "digested" by the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth so that acid can't eat away at your enamel and you are less likely to get cavities. It really doesn't have much effect on the level of staining.

Many whitening gums (like Orbit White) contain baking soda. The abrasive particles "scrub" your teeth while you chew. Others (like Trident) have a fancy name for something that whitens teeth, but if you look at the ingredients you'll find baking soda as well.
No, there is a chemical in it called xylitol that keeps chemicals from staining your teeth, but as you eat and drink and just plain live, the xylitol wears off.
Xylitol is more of a temporary thing. On the back of most packages it says that if you chew 2 pieces after eating it will whiten your teeth. I would suggest Crest Whitestrips from experience...they really do work!

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