Facts To Consider When Whitening Your Teeth


woman whitening her teeth

Why Do Teeth Stain?

Before you dive into the process of whitening your teeth, let’s talk about the basics first. Most adult teeth do incur stains over time, and this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re bad at taking care of your teeth. 

Overall, there are three types of teeth stains:

Extrinsic Teeth Stains- One of the most common types of teeth stain, extrinsic ones are just what you might consider “surface stains.” They occur when pigmented particles from food or drink build up in the protective film around our teeth. Common culprits include tea, coffee, wine, and other substances that tend to leave stains.

Intrinsic Teeth Stains- These are stains that live below the surface of your teeth. Unlike extrinsic stains, these are not only caused by food stains per se. Excessive fluorine, certain medications, and dental trauma are all likely causes of intrinsic stains as well.

Age-Related Teeth Stains- As we age, our teeth naturally start wearing down, revealing some of the underlying yellow dentin. This, combined with food stains, causes our teeth to appear more yellow over time.

Believe It Or Not, Stains Are Normal

Don’t panic too much if you start noticing that your teeth are looking a little more yellow than you’d like. According to recent surveys, a whopping 80% of Americans” between the ages of 18 and 49 want whiter teeth. The best thing to do is to make sure you’re brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis. You can also consult your dentist regarding possible teeth whitening procedures. They can tell you whether you have any dental conditions which would make teeth whitening a bad fit for you. Your dentist may even be able to recommend a product or procedure for your needs.

Not All Teeth Whitening Products Are The Same 

teeth whitening product

There are a variety of ways to whiten your teeth and improve your smile these days. Generally, these include gel or whitening liquid, a light/laser, or whitening strips. It’s important to note that in-office procedures tend to be a lot faster and effective than at-home treatments.

In-Office Procedures

Boost- Opalescence™ Boost™ is a very popular and easy whitening procedure that has become common in dental offices. During this whitening procedure, a dentist covers your gums with a protective gel to prevent irritation. After that, Boost™ gel is gently brushed onto your teeth, and you wait. The full procedure typically takes just one hour, and results are visible after just one session.

Zoom- Another popular alternative – Zoom, works in a very similar way. For this procedure, a dentist also applies a gel to your teeth, although the difference is that Zoom utilizes a special light to help the gel penetrate through stains.

At-Home Products

Whitening Toothpaste – A very common household item these days, whitening toothpaste is used to consistently whiten your teeth over time. Although a single session of brushing probably won’t make a noticeable difference, regular use does. Additionally, this kind of toothpaste can be great in combination with other whitening treatments and helps maintain results. Keep in mind, however, that excessive use of whitening toothpaste can hurt sensitive teeth. It is always best to consult your dentist before using a new dental product.

Whitening Strips – A staple of every drug store these days, whitening strips can be found in almost every dental care aisle. Although this is a lower-cost alternative to in-office procedures, whitening strips are less effective and take many sessions in order to deliver visible results. Additionally, since the treatment comes in the form of strips, it’s easy to accidentally leave a few spots without coverage, resulting in uneven whitening.

Teeth Whitening Is Temporary 

As we mentioned earlier, extrinsic teeth stains are a very common side effect of consuming large amounts of coffee, tea, wine, and other highly pigmented food and drink. Since this is largely a habitual problem, the stain can come back depending on how well you maintain results after your whitening treatment. Expect results to last anywhere between 3 months to a few years. Brushing and flossing regularly, as well as avoiding drinks that can stain your teeth will help prolong the results of whitening.

Professional Teeth Whitening Is The Safest Option