Although people commonly refer to teeth are as “pearly whites,” not everyone has perfect, white teeth. Many of you could suffer from tooth decay, yellowing teeth, and other dental problems. What causes the teeth to become yellow, and is that a permanent defect?
Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?
The reasons for yellowing teeth are manifold, some of which are natural, and others depend on your lifestyle.
- Aging: Aging and genetic factors lead to the reduction of the tooth pulp, which gives a yellow shade
- Thinning of enamel: When the tooth enamel thins down, the underlying dentin is exposed yellow
- Smoking and diet: Chewing tobacco or consuming foods such as coffee and sauces contributes to discoloring teeth by creating stains on the teeth surface
However, with the advancement of technology, chemicals, and dental devices, it is possible to whiten your teeth with specific medical procedures. While it is best to go to a dentist to have your teeth professionally cleaned, there are some home teeth whitening techniques you can try out.
Why You Should Prefer Going To the Dentist
The products used by dentists are often the best to whiten teeth, but if you choose to purchase an OTC whitening kit, make sure it has the American Dental Academy seal of approval.
If you go to a dentist’s office, you can get a full oral exam to prescribe one particular technique over others. Apart from getting a customized and hygienic treatment, the effect is also very different as the teeth become ten times whiter a couple of hours!
In some cases, you can get a doctor-prescribed testing kit delivered home where you can treat yourself. This option is cheaper than going to the dentist’s office and better than doing it entirely yourself.
6 Teeth Whitening Processes You Can Try Out
1. Whitening Toothpaste
Toothpaste is the simplest solution to whitening teeth, although it is not as effective as other methods described below. Mild abrasives such as silica, aluminum oxide, calcium carbonate, and baking soda are present in toothpaste, helping remove surface stains, one of the causes of colored teeth.
Most kinds of toothpaste do not contain bleaching agents, so they are ineffective in removal deep-set stains. In general, toothpaste is useful to whiten your teeth by one shade, but consider these alternatives for more advanced treatments.
2. Whitening Strips
Teeth-whitening strips are made from thin, flexible plastic, and coated with a low concentration of a bleaching agent. If you go to the dentist’s office for this treatment, the time for applying this is usually 30 minutes. You can put these strips over your teeth even when carrying out other activities at home.
Even if strips are more effective than whitening toothpaste, the side effect can not be ignored. They irritate gums. So before using the strips, check what bleaching agent is present. A low-concentration peroxide variant is safe, but strips containing chlorine dioxide can damage the tooth enamel.
3. Whitening Gel
Gels are typically used only in the dentist’s office and not at home. The dentist uses a tooth-whitening gel containing 25% to 40% hydrogen peroxide and aims a unique heating lamp at your teeth after applying the gel. The dentist repeats this process in three back-to-back sessions of 20 minutes each.
To accelerate the process, dentists sometimes employ a laser. Your tongue, gums, and lips must not come in contact with the whitening gel, so dentists keep protective barriers in your mouth.
Sometimes, you may have to follow up on this process of using the gel with whitening trays at home or by visiting the dentist regularly for the next couple of months. For strips and gels, the initial effects are visible within the first few days, and the final results last for approximately four months.
4. Whitening Trays
Tooth-whitening trays are an excellent method of treating your teeth at home but ensure you use dentist-dispensed take-home whitening kits. These kits contain a higher quantity of bleach, as OTC products usually have 10% to 22% carbamide peroxide content, and professional kits contain 15-43% of hydrogen peroxide.
The dentist will take molds of your teeth in flexible plastic trays to ensure the bleach stays in contact with your teeth long enough. They also prevent saliva from interacting with the bleach or the bleach leaking out and irritating the gums. Dentist trays are custom-made for you to fit your teeth perfectly, whereas OTC trays may have mismatches.
5. Whitening Rinses
Whitening rinses are among the newest products available for treating your teeth. Rinses are typically used to reduce dental plaque and gum disease and freshen your breath, but recently, these products have started, including bleaching agents.
The usage of rinses is similar to that of a mouthwash. You need to swish them in your mouth for one minute or so before brushing (once in the morning and night).
Although it is simple to use, the contact time of two minutes between the rinse and your teeth makes its efficiency very limited. You may have to wait nearly 12 weeks to see visible results.
6. Whitening Pens
Teeth-whitening pens are thin, plastic tubes that contain a whitening gel. These are small enough to carry in a purse or pocket. Although the cleaning effect is minimal, the primary purpose of using a pen is to look for a quick fix (touchups before a momentous social occasion, say).
Typically, the bleaching agent used in whitening pens is hydrogen peroxide (which comes from carbamide peroxide) and sometimes glycerin, carbopol, sodium hydroxide, and flavoring agents. A whitening pen cleans stains on your teeth, so it is best if you don’t drink or eat anything for the first hour after applying the gel.
Brighten Your Day As Well
While these six procedures work wonders on your teeth to make them white again, you also brighten your day! Consult a dentist before you plan to undergo treatment, but you can carry out the actual method at home if you prefer. Factor in your budget and time constraints as well.
The techniques mentioned here are some of the best at-home teeth whitening methods, but be responsible when whitening your teeth yourself. Whether you get an in-office treatment or do it at home, remember that the results are not permanent. Your lifestyle, age, and other factors will continue to affect your teeth, and regular maintenance is necessary.