33 Questions to ask before getting Teeth Whitening

teeth whitening

I want to get my teeth whitened. What do I need to know?

Here are the most important five points which you should know about before you have your teeth whitened.

How effective will the tooth whitening process be for your particular teeth?

  • What will be the full cost of the tooth whitening procedure.  This includes the cost of any initial consultations, the cost of the procedure, the cost of any additional materials or tooth whitening gels and finally the cost of aftercare.
  • What are The likely adverse effects or problems that could arise for you  And in particular the problems of sensitivity afterwards and any gum irritation afterwards.
  • Advice and information on how you will be able to keep your teeth whiter afterwards so that they don’t go back to the initial colourAfter your teeth have been whitened, will you need to have any of your fillings or crowns changed to match everything up.

What are the benefits of teeth whitening?

Having teeth whitening done is one of the simplest and quickest ways in which you can make a dramatic improvement to your smile and to your overall confidence and well-being.  Done correctly, teeth whitening does absolutely no harm to your teeth unlike the potential of many other cosmetic dental procedures.  Finally, teeth whitening can be done in stages so your teeth keep on improving over a period of time.

What is professional teeth whitening?

A professional teeth whitening procedure is a tooth or teeth whitening procedure that you can have carried out at your dentist.  Here are the three main points that are important when considering having a professional teeth whitening procedure.

  1. The tooth whitening gels that your dentist will use are more concentrated and therefore the whitening procedure will be much quicker and your teeth will become much lighter in a shorter period of time.
  2. Your dentist may also use a light to accelerate the tooth whitening procedure.
  3. During a professional teeth whitening procedure, your dentist will use a protective gel over your gums so by having your teeth whitened professionally, so there is less risk to any damage to your gums.

Is teeth whitening safe?

Teeth whitening is one of the most commonest dental cosmetic procedures that is carried out. As well as that, it is one of the most commonest dental cosmetic procedures that patients carry out by themselves at home.

As well as being one of the most commonest dental cosmetic procedures, it is also one of the least invasive procedures.  It certainly does have major advantages over more invasive dental cosmetic procedures such as dental crowns and dental veneers.

 But, all Medical and Dental procedures will carry some form of risks And tooth whitening is no exception.

 The two most commonest risk factors when having your teeth whitened are that of sensitivity and irritation to your gums. Before we talk in a bit more detail about these two teeth whitening risk factors, there are also other risk factors as well. These include the softening of the surface layer of the enamel. In addition, studies have shown that the surface layer of enamel can also become roughened. The softening of the surface layer of the enamel and also the roughening of the surface layer can cause an increase in potential Decay in your teeth in the future.  The studies also reported demineralisation of the surface of the enamel after having tooth whitening done.  This sounds really off-putting but tooth enamel has an important property in that it can remineralize fairly quickly and easily. So even if your tooth whitening procedure has demineralised, roughened or softened the surface layer of the enamel, this can be reversed by using the appropriate fluoride mouthwashes which will negate any negative effects to the enamel.

Does tooth whitening affect my fillings?

 Overall, the answer is no. However there have been reports of fillings undergoing some colour changes and degradation when subjected to the hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide chemicals found in the tooth whitening systems.  One way in which tooth whitening can affect your fillings is that tooth sensitivity can occur afterwards. There have also been rare cases where the nerve of the tooth has been permanently damaged.

Tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening.

Tooth sensitivity is extremely common after you have had your teeth whitened by any method.  Sensitivity is worse if you are one of those patients who tend to have sensitive teeth anyway.  Sometimes we even recommend that patients do not have their teeth whitened if their teeth are already quite sensitive in the first place.  The severity of the sensitivity depends on the concentration of the tooth whitening agent used and the length of time it has been on your teeth for.  The sensitivity can last for a short time and only when you are actually having your teeth whitened or it can be much more prolonged afterwards. It ranges to very mild to very painful needing strong painkillers.

 The way the tooth sensitivity is treated partly depends on the method that you are using to have your teeth Whitened.  General tips are that you should ensure that the gum shield trays fit really well around the gum line. You should also ask your dentist to cover up any exposed dentine which may cause post-operative sensitivity.  For at least a week before you have your teeth whitened, you should brush your teeth with a sensitive toothpaste and after brushing, it’s best to just spit out the toothpaste but not rinse out with water afterwards so that the  tooth sensitive paste can carry on working especially if you brush your teeth last thing before going to bed.  You can also add tooth sensitive paste into your tooth whitening gum Shields and wear them for half an hour up to overnight.

 In all cases, the tooth sensitivity experienced after tooth whitening procedures is only temporary and everything eventually settles down to what it was before.

Gum  sensitivity after teeth whitening.

 There are many cases of gum sensitivity and gum irritation after tooth whitening has been carried out especially by patients at home.  The chemicals in teeth whitening which are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, are not designed to be in contact with the soft gum tissue in your mouth.  When Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide gets in contact with the soft gum tissue in your mouth, it starts to irritate and break the cells down.

 An excellent tip is that if you experience a tooth whitening burn, get a Vitamin E capsule from the chemist, pierce it , and massage the liquid onto the gum tissue that has been accidentally exposed to the  hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. It’s really effective.

Does teeth whitening really work?

Teeth whitening definitely is proven to work. Many thousands of teeth whitening procedures are done every week. However it is important to realise, that not all teeth whitening procedures work the same or are even effective. Even a particular tooth whitening procedure may work better for one patient and not work at all for another patient. The secret is to find the tooth whitening procedure which will work best for your needs both in the short term and long-term. It also has to be cost-effective and produce the minimum side effects.

To understand whether teeth whitening really does work or not, we have to go back to understanding how teeth get discoloured in the first place and how these stains can be removed.

 

 Most extrinsic sources of teeth discoloration is from particular foods and drinks including tobacco smoking. Coloured compounds from these sources are adsorbed into the acquired dental pellicle or directly onto the surface of the tooth causing stains to be seen.  There is a difference between the term adsorption and absorption. Adsorption is the formation of a thin layer on the surface without actually penetrating inside the substance at all.  In contrast, absorption happens when is substance actually penetrates the body of another substance and enters the volume of that substance.

Teeth whitening bleaching gels.

Tooth whitening is any process that lightens the colour of a tooth.

 Whitening may be accomplished by physical removal of the stain or a chemical reaction to lighten the tooth colour.

 Examples of how a physical removal of any stains can occur include when you visit your dentist and he uses a rotating brush with an abrasive paste to get rid of the surface stains off your teeth.

 Bleaching your teeth is the form of using a chemical reaction to lighten the colour of your teeth and remove the stains. As the word breaching is used, this therefore encompasses the utilisation of bleaching chemicals and in particular hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

 There is a lot of confusion even among dentists as to the difference between hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.  In simple terms, they are one and the same because carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and it is the hydrogen peroxide which is the bleaching chemical.

Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide come with particular concentrations.

 As in the example, in surgery bleaching involves hydrogen peroxide at a higher concentration than a bleaching product that you would use at home.

In the UK, before 2015, in surgery bleaching gels used to be in the region of at least 15%. A typical concentration would be 20 or 25%. There were even systems with as much as 30% active hydrogen peroxide.  These were extremely effective and could whiten your teeth many shades lighter in only an hour and a half.

 Then at around 2015, the EU came up with an absolutely ridiculous ruling that tooth whitening products containing hydrogen peroxide could only have a maximum hydrogen peroxide concentrations of 6%.  The tooth whitening companies in the UK started to panic because they realised that a concentration of 6% would be absolutely nowhere near as effective to whiten your teeth professionally as compared to before when the concentrations were up to 30%.  The companies in order to stop losing business, sent messages to all dental practices telling them not to panic because they have added an extra ingredient to make up for the fact that the hydrogen peroxide concentration had been reduced to only 6%. No one was convinced.

 In reality, this really killed off any effective tooth whitening procedures at the dental practice. You could not compare the 6% concentration with the 30% concentration that could be used before the ruling. It was a joke and we as a practice could not ethically look a patient in the eye and advise them that tooth whitening carried out in the surgery would be as effective as before.

Bleaching is defined as the chemical degradation of the chromogens. Chromogens is a blanket term given to a substance which causes discoloration. The active ingredient in most whitening products is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) which is delivered as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

 Carbamide peroxide breaks down in contact with water to release hydrogen peroxide.

 The reason why most teeth whitening home kits are based on carbamide peroxide rather than hydrogen peroxide, is because carbamide peroxide is more stable. This means you can keep them longer. The carbamide peroxide breaks down anyway, if you expose it to light or heat. The best way to preserve the longevity of your carbamide peroxide based tooth whitening home kit is to keep the gels in the fridge and keep the gels in a dark container to prevent the light from getting in.

Chromogens fall into two categories: large organic compounds that have conjugated double bonds in their chemical structure and metal containing compounds. Metal containing compounds are much less common in causing staining of the tooth enamel and most of the causes of staining of the tooth enamel are due to large organic compounds with double Bonds in their chemical structure.

 It was found that hydrogen peroxide will react with the conjugated double bonds of the large organic compounds.  When the double bond breaks down, the result is that the chemical does not have the properties of a chromogen anymore.  Effectively, the double bond becomes oxidized. This is how teeth bleaching is effective.

Can whitening your teeth damage them? Why?

 Teeth whitening is one of the most commonest dental cosmetic procedures that is carried out. As well as that, it is one of the most commonest dental cosmetic procedures that patients carry out by themselves at home.

As well as being one of the most commonest dental cosmetic procedures, it is also one of the least invasive procedures.  It certainly does have major advantages over more invasive dental cosmetic procedures such as dental crowns and dental veneers.

 But, all Medical and Dental procedures will carry some form of risks And tooth whitening is no exception.

 The two most commonest risk factors when having your teeth whitened are that of sensitivity and irritation to your gums. Before we talk in a bit more detail about these two teeth whitening risk factors, there are also other risk factors as well. These include the softening of the surface layer of the enamel. In addition, studies have shown that the surface layer of enamel can also become roughened. The softening of the surface layer of the enamel and also the roughening of the surface layer can cause an increase in potential Decay in your teeth in the future.  The studies also reported demineralisation of the surface of the enamel after having tooth whitening done.  This sounds really off-putting but tooth enamel has an important property in that it can remineralize fairly quickly and easily. So even if your tooth whitening procedure has demineralised, roughened or softened the surface layer of the enamel, this can be reversed by using the appropriate fluoride mouthwashes which will negate any negative effects to the enamel.

 Does tooth whitening affect my fillings?

 Overall, the answer is no. However there have been reports of fillings undergoing some colour changes and degradation when subjected to the hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide chemicals found in the tooth whitening systems.  One way in which tooth whitening can affect your fillings is that tooth sensitivity can occur afterwards. There have also been rare cases where the nerve of the tooth has been permanently damaged.

Tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening.

Tooth sensitivity is extremely common after you have had your teeth whitened by any method.  Sensitivity is worse if you are one of those patients who tend to have sensitive teeth anyway.  Sometimes we even recommend that patients do not have their teeth whitened if their teeth are already quite sensitive in the first place.  The severity of the sensitivity depends on the concentration of the tooth whitening agent used and the length of time it has been on your teeth for.  The sensitivity can last for a short time and only when you are actually having your teeth whitened or it can be much more prolonged afterwards. It ranges to very mild to very painful needing strong painkillers.

 The way the tooth sensitivity is treated partly depends on the method that you are using to have your teeth Whitened.  General tips are that you should ensure that the gum shield trays fit really well around the gum line. You should also ask your dentist to cover up any exposed dentine which may cause post-operative sensitivity.  For at least a week before you have your teeth whitened, you should brush your teeth with a sensitive toothpaste and after brushing, it’s best to just spit out the toothpaste but not rinse out with water afterwards so that the  tooth sensitive paste can carry on working especially if you brush your teeth last thing before going to bed.  You can also add tooth sensitive paste into your tooth whitening gum Shields and wear them for half an hour up to overnight.

 In all cases, the tooth sensitivity experienced after tooth whitening procedures is only temporary and everything eventually settles down to what it was before.

Gum  sensitivity after teeth whitening.

 There are many cases of gum sensitivity and gum irritation after tooth whitening has been carried out especially by patients at home.  The chemicals in teeth whitening which are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, are not designed to be in contact with the soft gum tissue in your mouth.  When Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide gets in contact with the soft gum tissue in your mouth, it starts to irritate and break the cells down.

 An excellent tip is that if you experience a tooth whitening burn, get a Vitamin E capsule from the chemist, pierce it, and massage the liquid onto the gum tissue that has been accidentally exposed to the  hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. It’s really effective.

How to ask my dentist to whiten my teeth?

Here are the  most important five points which you should know about before you have your teeth whitened.

  1. How effective will the tooth whitening process be for your particular teeth.
  2. What will be the full cost of the tooth whitening procedure.  This includes the cost of any initial consultations, the cost of the procedure, the cost of any additional materials or tooth whitening gels and finally the cost of aftercare.
  3. What are The likely adverse effects or problems that could arise for you  And in particular the problems of sensitivity afterwards and any gum irritation afterwards.
  4. Advice and information  on how you will be able to keep your teeth whiter afterwards so that they don’t go back to the initial colour.
  5. After your teeth have been whitened, will you need to have any of your fillings or crowns changed to match everything up.

 

How to get white teeth without whitening treatments?

  1. Cut down on the frequency of foods and drinks that stain your teeth.  In addition, try to give up smoking altogether.
  2. Every three to 6 months, ask your dentist to give your teeth a scale and also a good polish.
  3. Brush your teeth with a normal toothpaste and a good quality toothbrush. That toothbrush may be manual or electric.
  4. If you have any fillings in your mouth that are stained, ask your dentist to polish them or resurface or even replace them.
  5. Tooth whitening home kit can be used every couple of months in order to reduce the staining that has been building up.  Initially,  have some in surgery teeth whitening carried out and then use the homekit to turn the results.
  6. If you are aware that you grind or clench your teeth, ask your dentist to make you a night guard to preserve the enamel off your teeth. The enamel of your teeth is what gives your teeth the translucency and the brightness.
  7. Ring up for a direct access appointment to see a dental hygienist or dental therapist. Ask them to carry out a thorough scale and polish. Then have a procedure carried out called Air-Flow. AIR-FLOW® uses a jet of water and propelled air with fine abrasive particles to lift-off the surface stains from your teeth.

How long do the effects of teeth whitening home kits last?

When you first have your teeth whitened, most people are ecstatic at how white their teeth have become and the improvements that this makes. However, they notice that after a while, the teeth don’t look as white as they used to be. This may be a week after the whitening is used or anytime up to one year.

 There are a number of reasons why the effects of tooth whitening may not last.

  1. One of the most important reasons is that tooth whitening produces dehydration of the enamel of your teeth. When dehydration of the enamel on your teeth occurs, this causes the teeth to look whiter than what they really are. You can easily ask your dentist to demonstrate to you the effects of dehydration of the enamel on your teeth using your own teeth. It’s totally harmless but it really highlights the effects of dehydration of the enamel surface. Your dentist will cover one of your front teeth up and the other tooth will have air from a three in one syringe blown on it for one minute.  The tooth that is covered up, retains its moisture and therefore its colour but the tooth that has had the air blowing on it, becomes dehydrated and becomes lighter.  It is so effective that it looks as if you have had that tooth whitened professionally.  But of course, as soon as the saliva gets back onto your teeth again, the colour goes back to what it originally was
  2. Another important reason why the effects of tooth whitening do not seem to last is that a person becomes used to the new colour of their teeth. Studies have shown that even when the colour change is still the same as when the whitening was first done, patients say that their teeth aren’t white as they originally were. The simple reason for this is that you’ll get used to the colour and you just want your teeth whitened even more.
  3. Despite what any dentist will tell you, all the tooth whitening procedures experience fade back.  There are a number of factors which influence the amount of fade back.  In nearly all cases, the feedback does not go back to what your teeth were like before they were white and but somewhere in between the original condition and what they were like immediately after the whitening was carried out. The main factors involved in the amount of fade back is the initial concentration of the tooth whitening gel and the time length  the whitening gel is used on your teeth. After after you have had your teeth whitened, you need to carry out frequent top ups to maintain the whiteness.  Usually one top up used overnight for 3 nights, every six months maintains the colour brightness as to its original brightness.

 Is teeth whitening at the dentist permanent?

When you first have your teeth whitened, most people are ecstatic at how white their teeth have become and the improvements that this makes. However, they noticed that after a while, the teeth don’t look as white as they used to be. This may be a week after the whitening is used or anytime up to one year.

 There are a number of reasons why the effects of tooth whitening may not last.

  1. One of the most important reasons is that tooth whitening produces dehydration of the enamel of your teeth. When dehydration of the enamel on your teeth occurs, this causes the teeth to look whiter than what they really are. You can easily ask your dentist to demonstrate to you the effects of dehydration of the enamel on your teeth using your own teeth. It’s totally harmless but it really highlights the effects of dehydration of the enamel surface. Your dentist will cover one of your front teeth up and the other tooth will have air from a three in one syringe blown on it for one minute.  The tooth that is covered up, retains its moisture and therefore its colour but the tooth that has had the air blowing on it, becomes dehydrated and becomes lighter.  It is so effective that it looks as if you have had that tooth whitened professionally.  But of course, as soon as the saliva gets back onto your teeth again, the colour goes back to what it originally was
  2. Another important reason why the effects of tooth whitening do not seem to last is that a person becomes used to the new colour of their teeth. Studies have shown that even when the colour change is still the same as when the whitening was first done, patients say that their teeth aren’t white as they originally were. The simple reason for this is that you’ll get used to the colour and you just want your teeth whitened even more.
  3. Despite what any dentist will tell you, all the tooth whitening procedures experience fade back.  There are a number of factors which influence the amount of fade back.  In nearly all cases, the feedback does not go back to what your teeth were like before they were white and but somewhere in between the original condition and what they were like immediately after the whitening was carried out. The main factors involved in the amount of fade back is the initial concentration of the tooth whitening gel and the time length  the whitening gel is used on your teeth. After after you have had your teeth whitened, you need to carry out frequent top ups to maintain the whiteness.  Usually one top up used overnight for 3 nights, every six months maintains the colour brightness as to its original brightness.

 

What is the average tooth whitening price?

In the UK, there are two types of teeth whitening procedures. There is in surgery professional teeth whitening that you have carried out in the dentist’s chair. The other tooth whitening procedure is the one where you place teeth whitening gels in a gum shield and you carry this procedure out yourself at home over a period of time.

The first procedure which is the in surgery professional teeth whitening that you have carried out in the dentist chair, is the most expensive one out of the two. The reason why this is the most expensive is down to the fact that the dentist has huge overheads for every hour that he runs his surgery and a typical procedure will take between an hour and a half to 2 hours all together.  As well as the huge overheads for every hour that a dentist runs his dental practice, there is the cost of the tooth whitening kit, the protective gels supplied, the whitening light or laser and the dentist’s time of course.  In the UK, a course of in surgery professional teeth whitening will be between £200-£500 altogether.  Of course, you will find discounts and deals all the time.

The other tooth whitening procedure is the one where you place the teeth whitening gels in a gum shield and carry this procedure out yourself at home over a period of time. The cost of this is typically a quarter of the cost of in surgery teeth whitening that is carried out in the dental surgery. You should expect to pay between £100 and £200 altogether including the gels for a month and the gum shields.

What are some other methods for tooth whitening?

  1. Cut down on the frequency of foods and drinks that stain your teeth.  In addition, Try to give up smoking altogether.
  2. Every three to 6 months, ask your dentist to give your teeth a scale and also a good polish.
  3. Brush your teeth with a normal toothpaste and a good quality toothbrush. That toothbrush may be manual or electric.
  4. If you have any fillings in your mouth that are stained, ask your dentist to polish them or resurface or even replace them.
  5. Tooth whitening home kit can be used every couple of months in order to reduce the staining that has been building up.  Initially, have some in surgery teeth whitening carried out and then use the homekit to maintain the results.
  6. If you are aware that you grind or clench your teeth, ask your dentist to make you a night guard to preserve the enamel on your teeth. The enamel of your teeth is what gives your teeth the translucency and the brightness.
  7. Ring up for a direct access appointment to see a dental hygienist or a dental therapist. Ask them to carry out a thorough scale and polish. Then have a procedure carried out called Air-Flow. AIR-FLOW® uses a jet of water and propelled air with fine abrasive particles to lift-off the surface stains from your teeth.

 

How do beverages stain teeth?

I would like to tell you this golden rule. The Golden Rule says that anything that will stain a white shirt, will also stain your teeth. The worst alcoholic beverages for Staining teeth are red wines.  White wine won’t Specifically stain your teeth but white wine contains acid which will make the enamel soft so foods and drinks which stain your teeth will more readily cause the enamel in your teeth to become stained.

The worst non-alcoholic beverages and soft drinks are drinks such as blueberry juice, tomato juice, pomegranate juice, BlackBerry juice and prune juice. These drinks contain a high concentration of chromogens which are chemicals that produce staining.

Next on the list is tea and coffee.

These substances that cause extrinsic staining, contain chromogens. Chromogens are chemicals that have the ability to cause staining.

The chromogens from the extrinsic sources will bind on to the dental pellicle on the surface of the enamel. In addition, the chromogens will also bind on to the natural enamel.

 The dental pellicle is a thin protein layer on the surface of a tooth which binds onto the enamel itself. The dental pellicle is made up of glycoproteins acquired from the saliva.

What can you do to reduce staining your teeth?

  1. Cut down on the frequency of foods and drinks that stain your teeth.  In addition, try to give up smoking altogether.
  2. Every three to 6 months, ask your dentist to give your teeth a scale and also a good polish.
  3. Brush your teeth with a normal toothpaste and a good quality toothbrush. That toothbrush may be manual or electric.
  4. If you have any fillings in your mouth that are stained, ask your dentist to polish them or resurface or even replace them.
  5. Tooth whitening home kit can be used every couple of months in order to reduce the staining that has been building up.  Initially, have some in surgery teeth whitening carried out and then use the homekit to maintain the results.
  6. If you are aware that you grind or clench your teeth, ask your dentist to make you a night guard to preserve the enamel of your teeth. The enamel of your teeth is what gives your teeth the translucency and the brightness.
  7. Ring up for a direct access appointment to see a dental hygienist or a dental therapist. Ask them to carry out a thorough scale and polish. Then have a procedure carried out called Air-Flow. AIR-FLOW® uses a jet of water and propelled air with fine abrasive particles to lift-off the surface stains from your teeth.

Why do I have stains on my teeth?

Everyone has stains on their teeth. Even at a distance, you may think that someone has absolutely bright white gleaming teeth but looking more closely, they certainly will have stains somewhere. These will usually be in the hard-to-reach areas with a toothbrush such as near the gum line around the palate of the upper teeth, or on the inside of the lower teeth.  In addition, stains also build-up in the interdental areas which are the areas between where teeth meet each other.

There are two types of staining on your teeth. The two types of staining on known as intrinsic staining and extrinsic staining.

Let’s look at intrinsic staining which is also known as internal staining.

In general, intrinsic staining is inherent staining of the tooth.  This means that the staining is already there when the tooth first erupts into the mouth.  These are termed as developmental disorders of the tooth enamel and or dentine.  Intrinsic staining can also be due to genetic factors. So for example if your mum and dad had dark yellow teeth, you shouldn’t be too surprised if you also have the same dark yellow teeth because you have inherited them.  Before the teeth have erupted into the mouth, they will have been developing in your jawbone. Whilst your teeth are developing, if they have been exposed to certain chemicals, these chemicals can cause staining of your teeth. The two common chemicals which can affect the colour of your teeth in this way are fluoride and tetracycline. If you ingested a large amount of fluoride toothpaste when you were very little, this can affect the development of the enamel in the condition called dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis causes Unsightly brown stains on your teeth.

Staining of teeth due to tetracycline antibiotics.

 People who were born in the 60s and early 70s, often have tetracycline staining of their teeth. Tetracycline is an antibiotic and it used to be quite common to give tetracycline to a toddler for example if they had a sore throat, a bad cold or the flu. What doctors didn’t know at the time was that the tetracycline molecule latched onto the enamel whilst it was developing. This resulted in enamel being discoloured. The severity of the staining ranges from mild to very severe depending on the amount of tetracycline given to the patient at the time.

 A common cause of intrinsic staining is ageing. It certainly is true that the older you get the yellower your teeth look.  There are two important factors going on at the same time as your teeth age. Firstly, the enamel will wear away over time. Enamel is the coating on the surface of your teeth which gives it its brightness and translucency. When enamel wears away, the brightness and translucency are reduced and the teeth look more yellow. Underneath the enamel, is a layer of tooth substance called dentine.  Dentine is not as white as enamel and when dentin is exposed, it looks yellow. In addition, during life, the amount of dentin in a tooth increases because the pulp of a tooth has the ability to grow more natural Secondary dentin as Time Goes On.

A tooth which becomes non vital, also becomes discoloured because the dentine is no longer receiving nutrients from the pulp.

 Let’s now look at extrinsic staining

 Extrinsic staining is staining that comes from the outside. This may be from smoking, beverages, certain foods and from dental fillings.

These substances that cause extrinsic staining, contain chromogens. Chromogens are chemicals that have the ability to cause staining.

The chromogens from the extrinsic sources will bind on to the dental pellicle on the surface of the enamel. In addition, the chromogens will also bind on to the natural enamel.

 The dental pellicle is a thin protein layer on the surface of a tooth which binds onto the enamel itself. The dental pellicle is made up of glycoproteins acquired from the saliva.

Are these alternative teeth whitening methods true?

Can lemons help whiten your teeth?

 If you have stains on your teeth and you are worried about the discoloration, you may have read about natural treatments that whiten your teeth on the internet or in magazines. Amongst these natural treatments, brushing your teeth daily with lemons maybe is an idea.

 As with many of these types of articles in magazines and on the internet, there is some truth so here we will analyse if lemons can be  effective for whitening your teeth.

Lemons are acidic and acidity is measured using a scale called pH. The acidity in lemon juice comes from a chemical called ascorbic acid which is literally vitamin C  And we know that lemons are high in vitamin C. Water has a neutral value and the pH of water is 7.  In contrast, lemon juice is right on the other end of the acidity scale and the acidity of lemons is a pH  2.3.  This is extremely high. Extremely strong acids such as hydrochloric acid have a ph in the same region as lemons. In the short-term, lemons do actually work to whiten your teeth but the important thing is what happens in the medium to long term. The acid from the lemons reacts with the surface enamel off your teeth which is a mineral. The top layer of the enamel off your teeth which is made out of  a crystalline mineral structure, will start to soften and literally dissolve away from your teeth. It is the surface layer of enamel which has the stains so it will appear at your teeth have become really white. The problem occurs in the medium to long term because the protective surface layer of the enamel has been eroded away. The layer underneath now is more vulnerable to Decay and further acid erosion. We have seen patients were been using lemons and within 3 to 4 months, you can see that they have lost a considerable amount of protective enamel from the teeth. The teeth become sensitive and actually look even more yellow than what they were to start off with. The reason is because the enamel has dissolved away and it has exposed the yellow colour of the underlying dentine layer of your teeth.

So if you are thinking of brushing or using lemons to help whiten your teeth, this is a big no no and is to be avoided.

Do banana peels whiten teeth?

If you have stains on your teeth and you are worried about the discoloration, you may have read about natural treatments that whiten your teeth on the internet or in magazines. Amongst these natural treatments, brushing your teeth daily with banana peel  maybe is an idea.

As with many of these types of articles in magazines and on the internet, there is some truth so here we will analyse if banana peel can be  effective for whitening your teeth.

 Banana peel does not have any chemicals which can cause any stains within  the tooth enamel to disappear.  This means banana peel does not have any special properties that can interact with the stains on the surface of a tooth.  But of course you will read that there are many positive 5-star reviews where people have said that their teeth looked whiter after brushing with banana peel over a period of time. Banana peel however does have an important property in that it is antibacterial. Any natural antibacterial agent is good in the mouth. So there is actually nothing wrong with brushing your teeth with banana peel.

 From results of a verifiable clinical study, it is proved that an extract of banana peel has antimicrobial activity against P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans. It is extremely interesting to note that both of the bacteria called p gingivalis and a actinomycetemcomitans are the bacteria that are implicated in gum disease which is responsible for the vast majority of teeth that are lost or extracted and necessarily.

Does activated charcoal whiten teeth? Is it safe?

If you have stains on your teeth and you are worried about the discoloration, you may have read about natural treatments that whiten your teeth on the internet or in magazines. Amongst these natural treatments, brushing your teeth daily with activated charcoal maybe is an idea.

As with many of these types of articles in magazines and on the internet, there is some truth so here we will analyse if activated charcoal can be effective for whitening your teeth.

Activated charcoal does not have any chemicals which can cause any stains within  the tooth enamel to disappear. Activated charcoal does not have any special properties that can interact with the stains on the surface of a tooth.  But of course you will read that there are many positive 5-star reviews where people have said that their teeth looked whiter after brushing with activated charcoal over a period of time.  Activated charcoal is slightly abrasive which means that when you brush your teeth with it, especially if the  toothbrush is dry,  chemical stains will be removed as compared to toothbrushing with water.  The actual difference as compared to using an ordinary toothpaste is minimal. Activated charcoal however does have an important property in that it is antibacterial. Any natural antibacterial agent is good in the mouth. As long as you rinse your mouth out with water afterwards to avoid swallowing an excessive amount of activated charcoal. So there is actually nothing wrong with brushing your teeth with activated charcoal but on the other hand it doesn’t have any particular advantages over and above ordinary toothpaste.

Does baking soda really help whiten teeth?

If you have stains on your teeth and you are worried about the discoloration, you may have read about natural treatments that whiten your teeth on the internet or in magazines. Amongst these natural treatments, brushing your teeth daily with baking soda maybe is an idea.

 As with many of these types of articles in magazines and on the internet, there is some truth so here we will analyse if baking soda can be  effective for whitening your teeth.

 Baking soda does not have any chemicals which can cause any stains within  the tooth enamel to disappear. Baking soda does not have any special properties that can interact with the stains on the surface of a tooth.  But of course you will read that there are many positive 5-star reviews where people have said that their teeth looked whiter after brushing with baking soda over a period of time. Baking soda is slightly abrasive which means that when you brush your teeth with it, especially if the  toothbrush is dry,  chemical stains will be removed as compared to toothbrushing with water.  The actual difference as compared to using an ordinary toothpaste is minimal. Baking soda however does have an important property in that it is antibacterial. Any natural antibacterial agent is good in the mouth. As long as you rinse your mouth out with water afterwards to avoid swallowing an excessive amount of baking soda. So there is actually nothing wrong with brushing your teeth with baking soda but on the other hand it doesn’t have any particular advantages over and above ordinary toothpaste.

How does coconut oil whiten teeth?

Recent research has shown that coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial action.

However, this has no bearing on reducing those stains on your teeth. So there is actually nothing wrong with brushing your teeth with coconut oil but on the other hand it doesn’t have any particular advantages over and above ordinary toothpaste for teeth whitening.

How do orange peels whiten teeth?

 If you have stains on your teeth and you are worried about the discoloration, you may have read about natural treatments that whiten your teeth on the internet or in magazines. Amongst these natural treatments, brushing your teeth daily with orange peels maybe is an idea.

 As with many of these types of articles in magazines and on the internet, there is some truth so here we will analyse if orange peel can be effective for whitening your teeth.

 Orange peels are acidic and acidity is measured using a scale called pH. The acidity in  orange peel comes from a chemical called ascorbic acid which is literally vitamin C  and we know that oranges are high in vitamin C. Water has a neutral pH value and the pH of water is 7.  In contrast,  orange peel is right on the other end of the acidity scale and the acidity of  is a pH  2.9.  This is high. Extremely strong acids such as hydrochloric acid have a pH in the same ball park figure as orange peel.  In the short-term, orange peels do actually work to whiten your teeth but the important thing is what happens in the medium to long term. The acid from the orange peel reacts with the surface enamel of your teeth which is a mineral. The top layer of the enamel of your teeth which is made out of  a crystalline mineral structure, will start to soften and literally dissolve away from your teeth. It is the surface layer of enamel which has the stains so it will appear as if your teeth have become really white. The problem occurs in the medium to long term because the protective surface layer of the enamel has been eroded away. The layer underneath now is more vulnerable to Decay and further acid erosion. We have seen patients who have been using orange peel and within 3 to 4 months, you can see that they have lost a considerable amount of protective enamel from the teeth. The teeth become sensitive and actually look even more yellow than what they were to start off with. The reason is because the enamel has dissolved away and it has exposed the yellow colour of the underlying dentine layer of your teeth.

So if you are thinking of brushing or using orange peel to help whiten your teeth, this is a big no no and shouldn’t be done.

Is salt effective for whitening teeth?

If you have stains on your teeth and you are worried about the discoloration, you may have read about natural treatments that whiten your teeth on the internet or in magazines. Amongst these natural treatments, brushing your teeth daily with salt maybe is an idea.

 As with many of these types of articles in magazines and on the internet, there is some truth so here we will analyse if salt can be effective for whitening your teeth.

 Salt does not have any chemicals which can cause any stains within the tooth enamel to disappear.  The chemical formula for salt is sodium chloride or NaCl.  This means that one atom of sodium is chemically bonded with one atom of chlorine.  Sodium chloride does not have any special properties that can interact with the stains on the surface of a tooth.  But of course you will read that there are many positive 5-star reviews where people have said that their teeth looked whiter after brushing with salt over a period of time. Table salt is slightly abrasive which means that when you brush your teeth with it, especially if the  toothbrush is dry,  chemical stains will be removed as compared to tooth brushing with water.  The actual difference as compared to using an ordinary toothpaste is minimal. Salt however does have an important property in that it is antibacterial. Any natural antibacterial agent is good in the mouth. As long as you rinse your mouth out with water afterwards to avoid swallowing an excessive amount of salt. So there is actually nothing wrong with brushing your teeth with salt but on the other hand it doesn’t have any particular advantages over and above ordinary toothpaste.

How are reality TV contestants’ teeth whitened?

All reality TV contestants seemed to have impossibly white and gleaming smiles. In the magazines, often the pictures are faked to make the teeth look whiter than what they actually are in real life.  Even on live tv, the lighting can make their teeth whiter than what they actually are in real life.  However, TV contestants do not have a magic formula to have their teeth whitened.  The teeth are whitened in exactly the same way using the same teeth whitening formula as what I and you can get from our regular dentist.  Certainly, you do need to go to a dentist who is interested and carries out tooth whitening and cosmetic procedures frequently.  Once you are there, the actual procedures are exactly the same. The only difference is that TV contestants will have the procedures done more often because they can afford it.  A good example is Lady Beckham who will ask her dentist to carry out tooth whitening every month and Lord Beckham won’t even know the money has gone out of his bank account.

Is teeth whitening through a dentist a good idea?

Teeth whitening through a dentist is the quickest and most effective way to have your teeth whitened rapidly.  However, the best results come from a combination of having teeth whitening through a dentist and carrying a tooth whitening procedure yourself at home.

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