Dental issues are no joke, especially as most dentists are closed due to the current pandemic. Taking great care of your oral hygiene is more important now than ever before.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say – so following guide to keep your teeth white and healthy and avoiding that currently impossible dental clinic visit.
Even with regular brushing and flossing you may feel you lack a certain sparkle in your smile. This is likely because of the yellow stains on your teeth, that are actually part of the natural process of aging and just general ‘wear and tear’.
Most of us desire that sparkling smile which can add to our feeling of empowerment and confidence. So, teeth whitening is necessary to achieve that. It can not only lighten your teeth several shades, but also remove plaque and other problems from your teeth almost instantly!
According to a Survey, 75%-90% of people want to improve their teeth color in preference to other oral treatments.
So, you can understand how important it is to have a beautiful smile. This is because our smile is the most powerful weapon we have have to impress others. If you want to impress someone with the very first look, then nothing beats a dazzling white smile. You may or may not believe this, but, the first thing that the person in front of you notices is your face, and in particular your smile. So, grab the chance to impress them with your smile.
What is Teeth Whitening?
Tooth whitening is an efficient way of lightening the color of your teeth without losing the important tooth surface enamel. Teeth whitening can not bring about a complete transformation, but it probably can lighten the existing shade to make you look better.
Teeth whitening can be achieved in a number of different ways, and in this guide we will cover all of them! From natural teeth whitening recipes to home teeth whitening kits and professional cosmetic dental procedures you will find the best ways to whiten teeth here.
Is Whitening Safe for My Teeth?
This is a question that troubles everyone who is considering undergoing a tooth whitening treatment. So, here is the answer. In simple terms, whitening is safe, as the chemicals or ingredients used to remove stains do not in most cases affect the structure of teeth.
But, we can not say with 100% certainty that there are no side effects at all because temporary side effects do occur, depending on the type of treatment.
The side effects generally include tooth sensitivity and gum pain. But there’s no need to worry, in the case of professional whitening treatments your dentist or treatment centre will take some precautions to avoid any such temporary issues and minimize the potential for tooth sensitivity.
The bleaching agents used in most teeth-whitening products are hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and carbamide peroxide based.
Carbamide peroxide is one of several very common base ingredients for home whitening products such as gel trays as it has a long shelf life and stability.
You can use this product for extended periods as it has shown a low risk for sensitivity.
It can also be left on the teeth for longer periods with less risk of sensitivity.
Virtually all professional bleaching methods use hydrogen peroxide which is a faster-acting bleaching agent. Hydrogen Peroxide can lighten your teeth at least five shades in an hour.
So, many people prefer these treatments. But, that is not to say that natural teeth whitening methods are inferior, in fact natural ingredients and methods can have very comparable results, as we will show you later in the article.
Main Causes of Teeth Discoloration
If you are eager to know the causes of teeth discoloration, here’s the answer. Just as there are some ways to lighten teeth, there are also several different ways that teeth can become discolored.
The leading causes of darkened teeth are genetics, antibiotics, and certain foods, plus teeth tend to darken as we age.
It’s time to get a little scientific but bear with us, this is useful information. There are two types of tooth discoloration:
- Extrinsic Tooth Discoloration: Extrinsic staining is caused by direct contact with various foods and other agents. They include tobacco and foods containing tannins such as red wine, coffee, and tea. You can get stains easily from smoking or chewing tobacco. So, avoid it at all costs, not just for your teeth but for your overall health as well.
- Intrinsic Tooth Discoloration: Internal tooth discoloration is caused by changes in the enamel of the tooth and the dentin.The main causes of internal tooth discoloration are exposure to high levels of fluoride, tetracycline, use of antibiotics as a child, developmental disorders, tooth decay, restorations, root canal issues, and trauma. Intrinsic tooth discoloration can happen with aging as enamel loses its youthful translucency, becoming less porous; this makes the underlying dentin more visible as it thickens and becomes more yellow over time. Intrinsic discoloration is also caused by exposure to excessive fluoride or the antibiotic tetracycline during tooth formation, inherited developmental disorders, and jaundice in childhood. For teeth that have erupted already, the leading causes of intrinsic discoloration are tooth decay, restorations, pulp death (root canal problems) and trauma to developing teeth. It’s possible to have both extrinsic and intrinsic discoloration at the same time
Other Causes of Teeth Discoloration
- Disease: There are few diseases which affect enamel and dentin. They lead to discoloration of the teeth. Some kinds of Infections in pregnant mothers can lead to teeth discoloration in the baby.
- Medications: Some medicines including Antihistamines, antidepressants, and high blood pressure drugs can lead to teeth discoloration.
- Age: There is a direct correlation between tooth color and age. Over the years, teeth darken as a result of wear and tear and stain accumulation. Teenagers will likely experience immediate, dramatic results from whitening. In the twenties, as the teeth begin to show a yellow cast, teeth-whitening may require a little more effort. By the forties, the yellow gives way to brown and more maintenance may be called for. By the fifties, the teeth have absorbed a host of stubborn stains which can prove difficult (but not impossible) to remove.
- Starting color: We are all inborn with a teeth color which ranges from yellow-brownish to greenish-grey and intensifies over time. Yellow to brown is more responsive to the bleaching techniques than the green-grey shades.
- Translucency and thinness: The changes in teeth color may be due to genetic traits that become more pronounced with increasing age. All the teeth show some kind of transparency, but those which are opaque and thick have an advantage i.e they appear lighter in color, and exhibit more sparkle and are responsive to bleaching. According to the dentists, transparency is the only condition which cannot be corrected by any form of techniques present in teeth whitening.
- Eating habits: Eating habits also effect your teeth color. The frequent consumption of red wine, coffee, tea, cola, carrots, oranges & other colored beverages causes teeth staining. The acidic foods like citrus fruits and vinegar also contribute to enamel erosion which makes your teeth lose their natural gloss and shine. So, the surface becomes more transparent and results in more of the yellow-colored dentin shows through.
- Smoking habits: Nicotine and nicotine containing products will leave brownish deposits on teeth which slowly gets absorbed into the tooth structure and cause intrinsic discoloration.
- Drugs or chemicals: When pregnant mothers use Tetracycline during tooth formation in the child then it results in dark gray or brown ribbon stains on the newborn which are tough to remove. Excessive consumption of fluoride causes fluorosis and associated areas of white mottling.
- Grinding: Some people have the habit of grinding their teeth when they are subjected to stress. Most frequently caused by stress, teeth grinding (gnashing, bruxing, etc.) can add to micro-cracking in the teeth and can cause the biting edges to darken.
- Trauma: Some serious injuries to teeth may cause cracks. If they are not treated properly, then the crevices will collect debris which may lead to staining
Teeth Whitening Methods
There are many teeth whitening methods which you can use. But not all can give you the same results. Let’s explore all the available options to whiten your teeth.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional treatments are rendered by a certified physician. They involve the use of highly concentrated whitening gels. They are not readily available over the counter because they are less safe if used at home. The Whitening gels mostly contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These bleaching agents will break down the stains and remove them. After applying them allow them to settle down for 30 minutes to 1 hour. If you have brown stains, this method works great. But bleaching is not as useful for gray colored teeth which usually require custom bleaching trays. These professional teeth whitening systems are usually of two types – In Office Whitening Systems and Take Home Whitening Systems.
In Office Whitening Systems
As the name indicates, the whole procedure should be held at your physician’s practice. There, they will apply a gel to your teeth and leave it on for less than an hour. In some processes heat, laser or blue light may be used to increase the bleaching action. The steps included in in-office whitening systems are
- Pre-Whitening Exam
- Dental Cleaning
- Isolating the teeth
- Applying teeth whitening gels
Laser Teeth Whitening
The common name for power or light accelerated bleaching is laser treatment. Some professional teeth whitening systems require light energy to improve the final output. In the laser process, the physician will place a rubber dam on your teeth and then apply the bleaching agent on your teeth. The rubber dam is for protecting your gums. Then, the laser lights will be focused on teeth to activate the bleaching product. The best part of using this laser light is this product can eradicate nicotine stains. This is the fastest way to whiten your teeth. This dental whitening procedure is repeated over a series of 15-20 minutes until you get a whiter shade. But, this is certainly one of the most costly whitening treatments.
Take Home Whitening
Do not confuse this take home whitening with OTC methods. In this approach, the physician will render the patient with a custom-made mouth tray made of thin, flexible plastic. You should fill this tray with the provided whitening gel and insert this such that the gel touches your teeth. Leave it for the prescribed period. Take home whitening treatments include:
1. Whitening Trays
2. Whitening Rinses
3. Bleaching Gel Strips
Whitening trays are the moulds in which you should fill the Bleaching gels and set it on your teeth. They are comparatively cost effective but the frames may not fit for everyone. So, choose the whitening trays after checking whether they suit you or not.
These are the best of all products for whitening your teeth and are also easy to use. Swish these whitening rinses for 2-3 minutes. They can change the color of your teeth within a short period but, you should repeat this process frequently to achieve the desired shade.
Pros and Cons of In-Office Teeth Whitening
Over the Counter Teeth Whitening
As the term indicates, these teeth whitening techniques are given over the counter without a prescription. So, you can get them directly from the pharmacist. Compared to the in-office treatments they are economical and also contains lower concentrations of bleach.
These products are useful but take a longer time to achieve results.
Over the counter products are often as part of teeth whitening kits that combine all the items you need.
Never accept any product over the counter without the ADA Seal. There are many products which you can get over the counter check the directions for usage before accepting the product from the pharmacist.
The most popular OTC teeth whiteners include the following:
Whitening strips resemble clear adhesive bandages. One should stick these strips to the teeth with the help of the adhesive on the whitening strips.
Leave it for up to 30 minutes each time. Repeat this twice a day for 1-2 weeks according to your requirement.
In the brush-on whitening method, one should paint the whitening gel with a brush and leave it overnight. Early in the morning, wash your mouth with toothpaste and rinse your mouth with mouthwash if desired.
Those who love chewing gum can easily pull off this technique. But, these whitening gums are devoid of sweeteners. So, try this new form of whitening but bear in mins you need to chew up to eight pieces a day to see results!
You might have heard about this method. The best whitening toothpaste contains high amounts of fluorides that can act as a teeth whitener. It also removes surface stains and a plaque with special chemical or polishing agents. Unlike bleaches, they do not change the actual color of teeth.
Whitening Tooth Powder
Whitening dental powder (or tooth powder) is a mixture of a variety of ingredients used to replace traditional toothpaste as a cleaning substance. It often contains baking soda, herbs like cloves, mint, or cinnamon, and an artificial sweetener for taste. Teeth whitening powder can also contain tooth whitening compounds such as activated charcoal and has seen a huge surge in popularity recently.
Teeth whitening pens are a newer format of whitening product. The best teeth whitening pens usually contain similar gel formations to other whitening methods but deliver them via a twistable pen with an applicator you apply directly to your teeth. These are a new and convenient way to whiten teeth at home.
Pros and Cons of At Home Teeth Whitening
Home Remedies for Teeth Whitening
Home remedies are one of teeth whitening’s best kept secrets. In our opinion this is the best collection of whitening systems for teeth.
Natural home teeth whitening systems are usually safe as they use natural ingredients and products.
You can also use some of these quick teeth whitening tricks as mouthwashes too.
The mouthwash method for whitening teeth is an easy way to get results faster. Instead of harsh peroxide based teeth whitening techniques you can rely on these remedies and get similar results.
Baking soda is the most popular product used to whiten your teeth in whitening toothpastes. It is both inexpensive and efficient. It is an abrasive which removes stains on your teeth. The other name for baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate. But, be careful to prevent damage to your enamel. So prepare this DIY teeth whitening product at home and use when necessary. Mix a little water with baking soda to form a paste to get rid of yellow teeth, or start brushing teeth with pure baking soda once in a while.
Use baking soda teeth whitening to improve your smile effortlessly.
Salt is a handy remedy which can keep your teeth free from yellow stains. Moreover, it does not possess any side effects. So, rub your teeth with salt at least twice a week. This is the best teeth whitening system you can use daily as it is the safest method. Salt is the best product to maintain professionally whitened teeth.
Do you know that you can use hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening methods just sitting at home? Yes, it is the quickest teeth whitening at home remedy. Most of the professional treatments also contain H2O2. So, use hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth safely. Almost all at home teeth whiteners contain this product. So, don’t empty your pocket to buy costly OTC drugs, instead use at home teeth whiteners. This can also act as a great mouthwash for teeth whitening. Gargle 3% H2O2 daily to keep your teeth clean and white.
This is one of the most hyped recent theories that is actually an ancient technique in Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine).
There are different opinions on the effectiveness of this technique. But, keeping, there are many people who are very satisfied with the after following this process for a few weeks. So, know the process and try it for a week or two.
There are no side effects for sure, so give coconut oil pulling a try as it is one of the best home teeth whiteners.
Of all home teeth whiteners, this is for sure the odd man out. There is a lot of hype around activated charcoal for teeth whitening.
We will be frank – this is the one product we recommend you NEVER USE to whiten teeth. Find out why here.
Are There any Side Effects from Teeth Whitening?
Do not overuse these products. Overuse of teeth whiteners may result in tooth sensitivity which may be temporary or permanent. Tooth sensitivity is mostly seen when peroxide in teeth whiteners touches the soft layer of dentin & irritates the nerve in your tooth.
In most cases the sensitivity is temporary. In that case, You can postpone the treatment, and once the pain has subsided, you can undergo the treatment.
Also, don’t undergo whitening treatments too often as they can also damage tooth enamel or gums. So, be sure about the whole process and take advice from your physician and take precautions.
How Long Do Teeth Whitening Results Last?
Whatever the teeth whitening method that you choose, you will probably find that your white teeth start staining again over time. But, if you take in-office treatment, it usually lasts from six months to two years.
But, it ultimately depends on your maintenance regime.
How Can I Maintain My White Smile?
To maintain the same glow forever, you should change your lifestyle and diet to avoid the foods that stain your teeth.
But, for some people, due to general health conditions they may need a touch-up whitening treatment once or twice a year.
Tips to Prevent Yellowness in Teeth
We all know that prevention is better than cure. So, to avoid yellow stains on teeth, we should follow some rules. Check them once and use them whenever necessary.
- Brush your teeth twice a day. Don’t skip cleaning at night because microbial accumulation increases in the evening.
- After eating or drinking something, rinse your mouth using water to avoid the tartar in your mouth. Water will also remove the stains which are just formed after eating. So, you can remove them in the initial stages of formation.
- Replace your old toothbrush with a new one for every 45 days. If you use the same brush for an extended time, the microbial contamination increases which may lead to plaque and other problems
Changes in Lifestyle
- Start using 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to rinse your mouth at least twice a week.
- Check the quantities of dark drinks like coke, coffee because they may stain the teeth permanently.
- Whenever you drink any beverages like coffee and colored beverages, then choose a straw which will avoid glass from touching your teeth.
- Tea is rich in fluorides which can fight against oral bacteria. So, drink a cup of tea daily. But, avoid adding sugar to it.
- Eat more fibrous food which is good for your health and teeth. The fibrous food will clean your mouth and removes stains from them.
- Dark Chocolate contains Theobromine which makes your teeth strong and whitens your teeth naturally.
- Peelu plant fibers are also used as toothpaste to restore the whiteness on the teeth.
- Alcohol will dry out the mouth tissues and attracts the bacteria to clean the mouth. But this alcohol can increase the risk of oral cancer. So be careful in selecting the mouthwash, and it’s safe to use alcohol – free mouthwash.
- Use whitening strips now and then to remove the yellow stain remnants.
- Most of us love chewing gums. But, chose sugar-free gums to avoid cavities or other teeth problems.
- These days, Sugar – free gums are available in the market. So, you can use them to whiten your teeth. Xylitol is a natural sweetener which acts against bacteria and neutralizes the pH levels.
- Once in a year, visit your dentist and take teeth whitening treatments if necessary. You can also ask your dentist to clean your teeth as regular cleaning is essential for maintaining your teeth health or oral hygiene.
Avoid the following to stay away from teeth stains
- Stay away from smoking. Smoking nicotine products will permanently stain your teeth
- Avoid tobacco use, drinking red wines, other alcohol drinks, black tea, etc. because they remove whiteness on the teeth.
- Brush your teeth gently. Do not apply so much pressure on teeth as it damage enamel which leads to loss of natural shine on teeth.
- Avoid adding high quantities of sugar in your food. After taking in sweet food just rinse your mouth.
Follow any of the given methods for whitening your teeth. There are many natural ways which are inexpensive and can treat mild to moderate stains.
But, if you have permanent stains formed due to smoking or other habits, then you should follow some chemical methods or treatment from the physician.
Wishing you happy teeth and we hope you enjoy your sparkling smile.