Many people want a whiter smile, but few understand the full story about why teeth become stained and how to get them white again. Read on the find the answers to your most urgent teeth whitening questions.
Why Do Teeth Get Stained?
If your teeth are not as white as they used to be, you might wonder why. One possible reason is food and drink. Many foods and beverages contain tannins, which are compounds that can stick to the surfaces of teeth, making them appear brown.
Smoking is another common reason why teeth become stained. Tobacco contains chemicals that can cause teeth to turn yellow.
Other reasons for teeth to change colour include age and certain medications.
How Can You Whiten Your Teeth?
Brushing and flossing are great ways to slow down the rate at which stains build up on your teeth, but once stains are established, you need a little more help to get rid of them. Even whitening toothpaste is unlikely to have a dramatic effect on well-established stains.
If you want to whiten your teeth at home, whitening strips can work quite well. These strips are covered in hydrogen peroxide, a bleaching agent that can remove dental stains, but at quite a low concentration, which makes them safe to use at home. Whitening strips can be quite effective, but they don't always provide a perfectly even finish.
The best method of whitening your teeth is to schedule a professional teeth whitening session with your dentist. While this procedure can cost more than whitening kits that you can buy in the store, it typically gives much better results.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Both professional teeth whitening and whitening strips are safe to use, although with home-use strips it is important that you follow the instructions carefully. Leaving the strips in contact with your teeth and gums for too long can lead to irritation.
With professional teeth whitening, even this small risk is eliminated. Your dentist can carefully control your exposure to the bleaching agent to give you the best possible stain removal without any sensitivity or damage to your tooth enamel.
How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?
How long the effects of teeth whitening last depends on your diet and lifestyle. If you regularly smoke, drink red wine and coffee and neglect dental hygiene, stains will quickly return. However, by using a whitening toothpaste and rinsing with water after consuming stain-causing foods or beverages, you can extend the effects of your whitening treatment.