Did you know that the most common natural colour of teeth is somewhere in the range of light grey-ish yellow shades? As you age, teeth are known to naturally darken and of course, accumulate surface stains. Skin tone and make-up can also affect the perception of the true colour of your teeth. Having a bright, white smile isn’t actually natural, but many people aspire to a smile that is exactly that.
First things first, let’s talk about how tooth whitening works. Your teeth are made up of two layers outside of the soft inner tooth pulp: dentin on the inside and enamel on the outside. When you eat and drink, the enamel (outer layer) gets covered with grime and plaque, which is how you see stained teeth. Typically this gets cleaned away with your daily toothbrushing and of course, regular dental visits. But, sometimes, especially if you’re a regular coffee drinker or a smoker, that grime can seep through and stain the inside of your teeth.
So, how does that happen? Well, there are two ways to bring a whiter smile to life; in-office or at-home care. That can be further broken down into the products that aim more at the outer layer of your teeth, so things you can buy at the grocery store or drug store (such as Crest White Strips or whitening toothpaste), the LED light products you see online, or professional in-office (hydrogen peroxide gel is placed on your teeth and using heat (or heat and light), activated to accelerate the process) and take-home whitening trays. The best way to truly whiten your teeth and deliver a brighter smile is to penetrate the tooth itself to remove the intrinsic stains, not focusing only on the surface “bleaching”. Whatever route you go, it (almost) always includes some form of hydrogen peroxide, a very safe product that has been used in medicine for many years. The difference between the products sits in the concentration, how long you’ll need to use it for and how well it is in contact with your teeth. Any professional whitening (in-office or at home) will have higher concentrations, which means you’ll see better results in a shorter period of time. Overall, the amount of time it takes to see results varies based on the type of product you use, the sensitivity level of your teeth, and the type of stains (nicotine and tobacco stains can take up to three months to whiten since they are more deeply embedded than simple food stains). At Advanced Dental Arts, we create customized whitening trays that you use at home. For more on that, read our Top 5 Reasons to Choose Zoom Home Whitening post.
The results you achieve won’t last forever, but proper oral hygiene and regular dental care visits play a big role in maintaining any results you achieve. You can also maintain your whiter smile by avoiding acidic and tannin-rich food and drinks such as:
- Coffee and black tea
- Sports drinks
- Red wine
- Carbonated beverages (both light-coloured and dark coloured sodas)
- Sauces like soy, tomato and curries
*TIP: if you do indulge in any of the above, rinse your mouth with water afterwards!*
Although teeth whitening can be very effective, it’s not necessarily appropriate for everyone. There are types of teeth that shouldn’t be exposed to even the mildest concentrations of whitening solutions. Some examples of conditions that may exclude you from being a good candidate for teeth whitening include:
- Tooth decay
- Gum infection
- White spots on the teeth
- Discoloured teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Certain types of dental work, including dental crowns & bridges
Whatever route you choose to help with your teeth stains on the journey to whiter teeth, you should consult with your dentist to find out whether it’s safe and right for you. If you’re looking for teeth whitening in Winnipeg near you, we at Advanced Dental Arts offer complimentary consultations so you can come in and chat about your ideal beautiful smile. We accept all insurance & offer payment plans.