Teeth Whitening: What Works & What Doesn’t

The internet is full of misnomers about many topics, tooth whitening being one of them. Varying reports of safety, the health of the tooth, what causes teeth discoloration, different methods of whitening…it can be very hard to decipher the truth and know what the best course of action is. To help out, here are some popular questions and answers.

Why do teeth turn yellow?

While food and drink certainly do play a large part in discoloring the teeth, the stripping of the enamel is what makes teeth look yellow. As acidic foods, aging, grinding teeth and scuffs remove the enamel, the naturally yellow underparts of the tooth can start to be seen more. Genetics can also play a large part in determining the thickness of your enamel and how quickly your teeth could turn yellow.

How are teeth whitened?

There are two methods that whiten teeth, but only one should be considered. Products with bleaching chemicals work by penetrating the enamel and bleaching the yellow dentin, while abrasive methods work just to remove superficial stains. Surprisingly, the first method, which involves chemicals, is actually more effective and less damaging to the tooth when it is done properly.

Should I use whitening toothpaste?

Simple question with a simple answer. The whitening components in toothpaste are not exposed to the teeth for a long enough time, so they are a very ineffective way to whiten.

Should I use whitening strips?

Since these products are generic and made to fit anyone’s mouth, they do not always work as well. They can deliver inconsistent whitening and can also harm the gums. Consider custom whitening trays instead of strips.

Can I just use hydrogen peroxide at home?

This can be very dangerous since the reaction caused by hydrogen peroxide actually ages living tissue.

What about natural whitening remedies?

Many natural remedies are just not effective and can actually cause more long-term issues. Some “natural” remedies involve using acidic components that can strip the teeth further!

So what’s the safest way to whiten my teeth? Should I have my teeth professionally whitened?

The safest way to whiten your smile is done when a professional is entrusted to help. Extensive bleaching can cause harm, and many over the counter products can damage teeth. When it comes to your overall oral health, don’t take chances…trust a professional!

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