All About Teeth Whitening: What Are My Options and Who Can Do It?

Despite the size, teeth greatly impact your overall look and general health. Without a good set, the perfect smile becomes elusive. Unfortunately, many people have chipped, missing, or discoloured teeth, and only a few seek care. 


Tooth discolouration is the most rampant dental problem, but it gets the least attention. So before looking into options for teeth whitening, it’s crucial to understand how teeth become discoloured. 


Poor dental hygiene


If you don’t brush your teeth regularly, you will likely have discoloured teeth. The discolouration occurs when a soft, sticky film forms on the enamel and impacts. The film hardens into tartar your teeth become yellow-brown. The result is extensive discolouration and an increased risk of tooth decay. 


What you eat and drink


Drinks like coffee and tea leave brown stains on teeth, while fluorinated water causes white spots to appear on the enamel. In addition, smoking also causes yellow staining.


Furthermore, certain medications like antidepressants, antipsychotics and antihistamines discolour teeth. Moreover, chemotherapy drugs and oral rinses with chlorhexidine leave stains on the enamel.




Disease processes like calcium deficiency, liver disease, celiac disease and metabolic diseases lead to tooth discolouration. Moreover, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) can also cause tooth discolouration as the acidic reflux reacts with the enamel. 




Your teeth will inevitably change colour as you age. Naturally, teeth lose their original shine as they slowly wear down. The transition into a yellowish colour occurs as the enamel wears down and the dentin is exposed. 


Fortunately, several options can whiten your teeth and maintain a natural glow. It all depends on how fast you want the results and the depth of your pocket.


Hygiene practices


Good oral hygiene practices are the simplest, cheapest, and most reliable ways to keep your teeth white. For example, brushing your teeth thoroughly after every meal ensures plaque doesn’t accumulate on your enamel, and your teeth maintain their natural look. Nonetheless, following the appropriate dental recommendations is essential for the best results. 


Whitening rinse


Unlike mouthwashes, whitening rinses have special ingredients like hydrogen peroxide that whiten teeth. The instruction on most whitening rinses is twice daily use and a 60-second swish around the mouth for each session. Aside from whitening teeth, the rinse reduces plaque and prevents gum disease. However, whitening rinse is not recommended for children since it contains strong chemicals.


Tray-based whiteners


This option involves filling a mouth guard-like dental appliance with whitening gel and wearing the tray. The gel is a bleaching agent and can take up to a month for results to become apparent. Tray-based whiteners are available over the counter, but getting your set from the dentist is prudent. Trays offered by the dentist are customised to fit your teeth and improve contact between the gel and your enamel. As a result, the whitening is more effective and faster. 


In-office whitening


Professional in-office tooth whitening is the quickest way to make your teeth a couple of shades lighter. The process involves applying whitening products to the enamel and using a laser or other special lights to lighten the surface. The results are usually 3 to 8 shades lighter with only 60 minutes of treatment. Moreover, in-office whitening is available to everyone, including children. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come cheap.


Despite your tooth whitening choice, good oral hygiene is the only way to maintain the results. Therefore, stick to the standard advice; brush routinely, floss and see your dentist regularly. 

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