What You Need To Know About Teeth Whitening

Posted .

The color of your teeth can be impacted by many different things. The most common factor for yellowing teeth is stains. Teeth have pores and can absorb what they come in contact with. Food and drink can cause teeth to stain and yellow over time.

What Influences The Whiteness Of Your Teeth?

Some of the most common culprits to yellowing teeth include tea, coffee, red wine, and dark berries. Smoking habits can also cause decay and discoloration. Plaque can also add to yellowing—if it is not removed regularly with brushing and flossing, plaque can harden and form calculus or tartar that leads to discoloration.

Whitening can help to remove these stains, but even when stains are removed teeth may still not be as white as you wish. Genetics also play into the coloring of your teeth. Even if you don’t have any stains on your teeth, the natural color is due to genetics. Whitening products will remove stains but not change the genetic makeup of your tooth.

Professional Teeth Whiteners

Over the counter and professional teeth, whiteners can be very effective. Most whiteners use a kind of peroxide. Peroxide will oxidize color particles and eat away at stains. Most over the counter whiteners contain about 3% to 10% of peroxide, whereas profession whiteners (usually administered by a dentist) contain up to 40% concentration of peroxide. Because of the higher concentration, professional whiteners tend to be effective.

If you go with professional whiteners, they usually come with whitening trays that are made specially to fit the mold of your teeth. This can be beneficial because it keeps bleaching solutions in close proximity to the tooth’s surface. It can also help to minimize contact with gum—which can be dangerous, particularly if you have gum disease. Whitening solutions can agitate gum disease and accelerate gum deterioration.

Beware of using teeth whiteners if you have bonding or veneers in your smile. If you are having this kind of work done, be sure to have whitening done beforehand. Whitening solutions will not work on bonding or veneers but will work on your natural teeth, making your smile multi-colored as some teeth will be whiter than others.

Whitening is not a permanent solution. Stains can return with time. If you continue to eat and drink things that stain your teeth, they will continue to yellow. A lack of good oral care will also lead to yellowing teeth. Whitening is helpful but will not make up for poor oral hygiene. Be sure not to abuse teeth whitening products. They can be effective but when overused, they can damage teeth or cause extreme sensitivity. Though some sensitivity is common and not necessarily a sign of a problem. Remember removing stains takes time—you may need to go through a few rounds of teeth whitening to achieve the results you want.