Teeth Whitening: When and How to Do It Safely?

White teeth are the synonym of a happy and satisfied smile. Unfortunately, the majority of people don’t have the luck or genetics to have a pearly white smile. Moreover, our daily habits, the consumption of different foods and drinks and other unhealthy routines decrease the unattractiveness of the colour of our teeth.

Therefore, the next reasonable step is whitening the teeth. Even though there are quite a different set of opinions about whether you should or shouldn’t do it, it is proven by science that it is a safe and secure method to get the pearly whites in your mouth. Of course, only if it is done the right way. So, let’s go step by step and see when it is the right time to whiten the teeth and the ways how to do it.

When to consider teeth whitening?

The apparent reason for teeth whitening is not-so-bright teeth that lost their shine and started changing their colour. When you look at the mirror, you see yellowish teeth, darkened and without freshness and unpolished. This look of the teeth is characteristic if you continually do one, some or most of the following activities.

Eating and drinking staining food and drinks

Yes, some kinds of food and drinks can be the real enemy of your teeth, even the ones that are proven to be healthy for your body. For example, coffee, tea and red wine are one of the most significant staining drinks out there. Their intense colour pigments named chromogens attach to the enamel of your tooth and change its colour, leaving it not so white anymore.

Smoking cigarettes

If you smoke cigarettes, except that after some time of this unhealthy activity, your teeth will turn yellow inevitably. Tobacco use is detrimental not only to the enamel of the teeth but also the initiator of different gum diseases, and on top of it all, your breath will smell horrible. The tar and nicotine are the ingredients that cause staining of the teeth. The tar is dark, and the nicotine is colourless, but when it is mixed with oxygen, it becomes a powerful yellowish substance that stains the teeth irreversibly.

Wearing the enamel out

Let’s take a look at the structure of the teeth. Look at the photo.


Notice the enamel – the hard, white outer shell of the teeth. It is the protective layer of the teeth that defines the colour of your teeth. Underneath it, there is the dentin. The dentin is yellowish and encases the pulp in the middle. So, when teeth turn yellow or become darkened, what happens is not the enamel changing colour, but it starts to wear out, exposing the unattractive, yellowish dentin to the surface.

Not only the teeth now look differently but also they become sensitive, which is another health problem that should be treated medically. Unfortunately, the process of enamel decay happens because of ageing, so even if you are extra careful what you consume, it will still occur. The advantage of being careful of the consumption of staining foods and drinks is that it delays this process as much as possible.

Hard hits, trauma, use of medications

If you have experienced a hard hit, in the mouth. Or any other type of trauma, your teeth colour might change overnight. The reason for this to happen is that the tooth reacts to an injury by laying down more dentin and its dark colour intensifies.

Moreover, if you have been taking antihistamines, antipsychotics and high blood medications, it is very probable that the white colour of your teeth will dim away. In addition, some antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline can darken the teeth, especially in children, when their teeth are forming. Finally, chemotherapy and radiation can also darken teeth.

All of these things speed up the process of losing the natural white colour of the teeth. And after you’ve experienced it, it is time to consider whitening.

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a simple process that thanks to the bleaching ingredients in the formula of the whitening product (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide), the teeth become one or several shades brighter and whiter. These ingredients, when applied, break the stains into smaller pieces and decrease their power to darken the teeth.

How effective is teeth whitening?

It is very effective, but you need to consult your dentist first about the way you are going to do it and how you will continue the process. The fact is that not all whitening products work the same way for all discolourations. For instance, you can bleach yellow teeth, but not as well if your teeth are brown. Grey teeth might never return their white shine as well.

Furthermore, whitening doesn’t work on caps, veneers, crowns or fillings, or if the teeth colour is a result of a trauma.



How to whiten the teeth?

Taking all of this into consideration, how to proceed? Well, the most sensible advice one can give you is to consult your dentists. They can direct you to the right whitening option. They will even offer to do it themselves, but keep in mind that such appointments and procedures are costly. So, if money is a problem, consider over-the-counter alternatives. Even though the dentists do the most effective ones, you can achieve pretty amazing results if you do it home. Here is how.

Custom-made tray and products by the dentist

Instead of doing it at the dentist’s office, you can ask them to provide you with a custom-made tray for your mouth and the right product for your teeth. They will give you instructions on how to use the bleaching product – how to put it on the tray and correctly place it on your teeth. The whitening process might be a bit slower, but far more convenient because you are going to do it in the comfort of your home.

Buy whitening products online or from the local store.

Numerous brands offer whitening products such as gels, strips, toothpastes and other solutions that you can buy over-the-counter. One of the most effective ones includes Opalescence products that are entirely safe and easy to use. These products offer formulas with different percentages of bleaching ingredients depending on how fast you want to achieve results. Instructions are included so you can safely carry out the procedure at home.

A final note

Don’t forget that too much bleaching can destroy the teeth. Of course, there are side effects of incorrect whitening. One of the most common side effects is the appearance of tooth sensitivity. It can be treated easily if the sensation is weak or mild, but for intense feelings of uneasiness and pain, you should immediately contact the dentist.

Finally, don’t be afraid to dream and do something about the perfect white smile you see on TV and want for you. It is safe to use whitening products the right way, and sometimes it may take a while before you notice the results, but be sure that it will pay off in the end.