About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Tooth Whitening - Your Guide to a Brighter Smile
Advertisement

Tooth Whitening—Guide to a Brighter Smile

Font : A-A+

Regularly brushing and flossing can keep the teeth healthy, but a whitening procedure is required to get a sparkling smile with whiter teeth. Tooth whitening not only bleaches the tooth surface to make it appear whiter but also removes tough tooth stains, which are not removed by brushing.

In today’s world, where appearance and aesthetics have become a fad, the desire to have sparkling white teeth has become an obsession. Tooth whitening has become one of the most frequently asked cosmetic dental procedures.

Advertisement

When it comes to tooth-whitening, there are two options:go for a professional tooth bleaching treatment in the dental office or try at-home tooth whitening products. There are some side effects from teeth whitening, but conventional whitening treatments are safe when used according to the product’s directions.

Reasons for Change in Tooth Color

Teeth color can go from white to not-so-bright for many reasons:

5 Reasons Why Your Teeth Change Color

Food and Drink

Coffee, tea, and red wine are the main staining culprits. These food particles stain the outside of teeth due to color pigments called chromogens.

Tobacco

Two chemicals found in tobacco, such as tar and nicotine, create stubborn stains. These chemicals get mixed with oxygen and turn into a yellowish, surface-staining substance.

Age

As age advances, the outer layer of the tooth gets thinner with brushing and gives a yellowish appearance.

Trauma

The tooth may change color because it reacts to an injury by laying down more inner tooth material, which gives a dark brown appearance.

Medications

Tooth discoloration can also be a side effect of certain antihistamines, antipsychotics, and high blood pressure medications.

Young children who are exposed to antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline when their teeth are forming may have discolored adult teeth later in life. Cancer treatments can also darken teeth.

How to whiten the teeth will be based on the type of staining present. External stains can be treated with whitening toothpaste, whereas discoloration caused due to medication use, childhood illness, infection, tooth trauma, or aging needs to be professionally bleached.

Advertisement

Tooth Whitening Options

There are many methods and products available to whiten teeth.

Generally, three methods of whitening are used, which are either administered by the dentist or dispensed by the dentist to use at home or obtained over the counter.

Generally, the methods the dentists use will bleach the teeth with carbamide peroxide. This breaks down to hydrogen peroxide and urea and targets the tooth’s color in a chemical reaction.

Tooth Whitening Options

1. In-Office Power Bleaching

This is a procedure where the dentist applies a gel or a liquid onto the tooth to achieve bleaching. This type of treatment can be beneficial because it works very quickly and the effect may also last longer.

The dentist may also use a laser or LED device when applying the whitening product to speed the process, but this additional method has not always been proven effective.

A few visits to the dentist are needed to whiten the tooth. This is because the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the applied products is greater than in products you use at home.

In-office treatments are recommended when receding gums or tooth surface lesions are present.

2. At-Home Treatment Through a Dentist

Dentists will provide a custom-made tray to fit into the mouth, and then a bleaching solution should be placed onto the tray. Dentists advise wearing the tray for 30 minutes to 1 hour a day for a few weeks to whiten the teeth.

This may be a preferred option if more comfortable whitening in-home at a slower pace, but still with the guidance of a dentist.

3. Over-The-Counter (OTC) Whitening Products

Unlike products administered by a dentist, these products have no carbamide peroxide, or much less than the products dentist’s use.

OTC teeth whiteners may not work as effectively for staining due to medication use, childhood illness, infection, tooth trauma, or aging. For safe use, follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a product.

4. Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpaste targets the tooth surface with various substances, including abrasives and the chemical blue covarine.

It may take time for whitening toothpaste to work, but those with blue covarine may be effective after one brush because the chemical makes the tooth appear whiter.

5. Whitening Strips

Whitening strips contain a smaller amount of hydrogen peroxide than professional products. They can be applied one or two times a day to the tooth surface for a set period as indicated by the manufacturer.

A variety of whitening strip products are available, at varying concentrations of bleaching agents.

6. Other Tooth Whitening Products

New teeth whitening products are developed, including whitening chewing gum, dental floss, and mouthwashes. These products are relatively new, and so much research has not been done to prove or disprove the effectiveness of these whitening products.

Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

While teeth whitening is considered safe, some may experience some side effects.

Teeth sensitivity may be experienced on the second visit, and it may diminish with time. The dentist may recommend treating sensitivity with products that contain potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride gel.

Gum irritation can happen because of contact with the whitening product. This side effect should go away after the treatment.

Post-Treatment Guidelines

Eating, drinking, and oral hygiene habits can impact how long the teeth whitening results last. After completing any whitening treatment, teeth are still susceptible to staining from beverages like tea, coffee, and certain foods.

To avoid this, rinse the mouth soon after eating or drinking to keep those kinds of discoloring agents from settling into the tooth surface and to decrease the plaque build-up chance.

Alternatives to Bleaching

When the degree of discoloration is very extensive, and the dentist feels good results cannot be achieved with bleaching alone other treatment options such as porcelain or composite laminates or full coverage crowns may be tried. In case of tobacco stains, the dentist may also try air abrasion.

Tooth Whitening Home Remedies

There are simple ways to naturally whiten the tooth.

Tooth Whitening Home Remedies

1. Practice Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is a traditional Indian remedy to improve oral hygiene and remove toxins from the body. The practice involves swishing oil around the mouth to remove bacteria and reduce gum disease.

There are no scientific studies to prove that oil pulling whitens teeth. However, it is considered a safe practice because it does not expose the tooth surface to acid or other ingredients that erode the enamel. Many people claim their teeth are whiter and brighter after regular oil pulling.

2. Brush With Baking Soda

Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can scrub away tooth surface stains. Though it will not whiten overnight, a difference in the tooth appearance is noticed over some time.

To use this remedy, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water and brush with the paste. Do this a few times per week.

Advertisement

3. Use Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent used in commercial whitening products at a much higher concentration. Dilute this concentration to 1.5% by mixing equal parts of peroxide and water.

Use this diluted solution as a mouthwash before brushing or mixing it with baking soda to make toothpaste. Limit the use of this homemade paste to a few times per week.

4. Eat Fruits and Vegetables

Crunchy raw fruits and vegetables can rub away the tooth plaque while chewing. Strawberries and pineapple are two fruits that are claimed to help whiten tooth surfaces.

While strawberries may help exfoliate tooth surfaces and make them appear whiter, they are unlikely to penetrate the stains on your teeth.

To use this remedy, smash a fresh strawberry and combine it with baking soda, and then brush with the mixture.

Some claim that the enzyme found in pineapples is more effective at removing tooth stains than standard toothpaste.

5. Activated Charcoal

The absorbent nature of activated charcoal allows it to bind to stains and odors rather than soaking (absorbing) them up. Mix activated charcoal powder with water to make a paste, and then sprinkle it into a wet finger or toothbrush to whiten the tooth.

These methods are not scientifically proven to whiten teeth and should be discussed with a dentist before trying them.

How to Prevent Tooth Stains?

Simple tips to prevent stains on the tooth surface include:

  • Limit staining foods and beverages or prevent direct contact with the tooth by using a straw.
  • Brush 30 minutes after consuming staining foods or beverages.
  • Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco.
  • Limit the sugar intake.
  • Include calcium-rich foods in your diet.
  • Regular tooth cleaning in the dental office.

If you stick to dentist-approved methods, tooth whitening is considered safe. Make sure to use the method that fits personalized needs and always follow the directions for the product. Consult a dentist if experiencing any side effects.

References:

  1. Teeth whitening - (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/teeth-whitening/)
  2. Whitening: 5 Things to Know About Getting a Brighter Smile - (https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/w/whitening)
  3. About Teeth whitening - http://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/procedures/teeth_whitening/)
  4. About Whitening - (https://www.ada.org/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/whitening)

Latest Publications and Research on Tooth Whitening

Citations   close

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Dr Jayashree. (2021, December 16). Tooth Whitening—Guide to a Brighter Smile. Medindia. Retrieved on May 25, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/tooth-whitening.htm.

  • MLA

    Dr Jayashree. "Tooth Whitening—Guide to a Brighter Smile". Medindia. May 25, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/tooth-whitening.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Dr Jayashree. "Tooth Whitening—Guide to a Brighter Smile". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/tooth-whitening.htm. (accessed May 25, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Dr Jayashree. 2021. Tooth Whitening—Guide to a Brighter Smile. Medindia, viewed May 25, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/tooth-whitening.htm.


Do you wish to consult a Dentist for your problem? Ask your question

Dr. Safia Mohammed
Dr. Safia Mohammed
BDS
6 years experience
CDC, Tolichowki
Teleconsult Now View Profile
Dr. Ishan Singh
Dr. Ishan Singh
BDS, MDS
9 years experience
Peoples Dental Clinic, Gamma 1
Teleconsult Now View Profile
Dr. Anjan Venkatesh
Dr. Anjan  Venkatesh
Bachelor of Dental Surgery
2 years experience
Teleconsult Now View Profile
View All

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.

Comments

Imayavaramban

Do using lemon for tooth whitening cause any problem.....??

rrrajaa

Hi imaya, using lemon cannot be supported as it can cause erosion of the Dental enamel as it contains citric acid, which even can cause gastritis in person who are having acidity.

vaishali9524

What is the average cost of in-office tooth whitening??

drraja

The basic fee is around 10,000 INR and more over it varies,

View More Comments
Advertisement
Health Topics A - Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



    What's New on Medindia
    Monkeypox Outbreak: What it is, How Does it Spread & the Prevention
    Seasonal Allergy Medications
    How to Choose the Best Eczema-Friendly Moisturizer for Children?
    View all

    Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

    Most Popular on Medindia

    Accident and Trauma Care Post-Nasal Drip Hearing Loss Calculator A-Z Drug Brands in India Blood Pressure Calculator Loram (2 mg) (Lorazepam) How to Reduce School Bag Weight - Simple Tips Noscaphene (Noscapine) Find a Hospital Drug - Food Interactions

    Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

    © All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

    This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
    open close
    CONSULT A DOCTOR