Dental discolouration is a common problem for most people. Age, certain foods and drinks, and smoking contribute to stained teeth, which isn’t pleasant. But teeth whitening can fix this issue. The increase in popularity of teeth whitening is evidenced by the fact that it has become the highest sought-after and most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure.
Teeth whitening is safe and functional, but a problem like permanent damage can happen if you use the wrong method or certain products. Some of these issues are:
- Enamel loss
- Tooth sensitivity
- Gum irritation
- Higher chances of tooth fracture
- Etched teeth
- More discolouration and staining after whitening
You can avoid these problems by using safe at-home teeth whitening products and getting a dentist to clean your teeth professionally.
At-home teeth whitening techniques
While bearing in mind the advantage of white teeth, some of the methods that will be listed here are safer and more effective than others, but generally, none will damage your teeth.
- Baking soda. Some persons say this product is highly abrasive for the teeth, but from research, the RDA (Relative Dentin Abrasivity) level of baking soda was 7 on a scale of 0 to 269. So that you know, the hardness or abrasion of a product is measure on the RDA level. Ensure you brush gently when using baking soda – it will remove teeth stains.
- Whitening strips. These are tooth-shaped moulds that whiten the teeth upon application and can be used at home. There are great products on the market.
- Whitening toothpaste. The low concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide makes these products able to whiten teeth but limited to one or two shades. While trying to expel stubborn stain, whitening toothpaste may become abrasive, causing eroded enamel and dentin exposure eventually. There’s usually no bleach in whitening toothpaste.
- Whitening rinses. Tooth colour change using these products is just about one to two shades. They come with hydrogen peroxide – a lightening ingredient. You may notice significant teeth colour changes after 3 months, and you have to be rinsing your mouth two times a day for 60 seconds per time.
For a more professional treatment, see our teeth whitening offers London.
That a whitening treatment for teeth is natural doesn’t make it safe. Here are some natural DIY teeth whitening procedures you shouldn’t perform to prevent any permanent damage to your enamel:
- Lemon and baking soda. The juice from lemon has a pH of 2.2, which makes it very acidic. Research also shows that lemon juice is highly corrosive to teeth, unlike orange and grapefruit juice. It may undoubtedly bleach your teeth, but not without a price. Kindly avoid this combination.
- There may be recommendations to use fresh strawberries to achieve whiter teeth; however, the effect comes from ascorbic acid, which is dangerous to teeth. A diet containing strawberries isn’t bad, but after eating, brush your teeth using fluoride toothpaste.
- Activated charcoal. The carbon in charcoal may prove to be a good magnet for teeth staining products like coffee, wine, and plaque and may remove them when you apply a charcoal-derived mixture on your teeth surface. However, studies have shown that this compound is yet to be confirmed safe and functional. Due to its highly absorbent nature, activated charcoal can destroy the enamel and erode the teeth. Should you still feel like trying this method after what has been said here, rub it on your teeth as paste, and don’t scrub. Avoid daily application; rather, test it for 1 or 2 weeks to measure its efficacy, and stop use. Most importantly, this method is not recommended for home use.
- Sea salt and cider vinegar. Dental experts don’t recommend this combination for teeth whitening. Vinegar, just like strawberries and lemon juice, is highly acidic and will harm your teeth, increase chances of tooth sensitivity and decay.
- Wood ash. This is a popular cultural method where wood ash from a fireplace is used on the teeth. The belief is that the lye or potassium hydroxide in the wood ash will brighten the teeth. Sadly, lye is very hard and can cause tooth abrasion, plus it is not a pleasant product.
Everyday practices to maintain white teeth
Remember that some foods can stain teeth. Well, some foods can brighten teeth as well. Stained or discoloured teeth may be inevitable since it’s an ageing process, but the following foods will keep up your white and bright teeth and evade stain.
- Cauliflower, broccoli, and other coarse veggies. Fibre-rich foods that take good time to chew. The trick is that the more you chew, the more saliva you generate to remove teeth stains. Again, superficial stains can be eliminated with these vegetables.
- Studies have shown that pineapple is the only natural source of bromelain, whose anti-inflammatory properties can work very well to eliminate stains from the teeth surface.
- Diary products. These work like fibre vegetables as they increase saliva production that wipes out the stain from teeth. Also, a product like cheese contains lactic acid, which is effective against superficial stains.
- Seeds and nuts. These are natural exfoliants that have a rough texture capable of removing stains and teeth discolouration.
- The onions’ sulfur compounds are not friendly with plaque – a precursor to gum disease and teeth stain enhancer.
- Carrots and celery. The high water content of these fruits will flush out food particles stuck between teeth. Thanks to the kind of structure these have, they can scrub your teeth to remove the surface stain while you chew.
Tips for whiter teeth
Eat the right food and at the right time! For instance, pasta sauce will stain your teeth, so to avoid this, first, eat a salad. Lettuce and spinach have some form of non-permanent covering to prevent teeth stains. If you chew nuts, celery, or eat some dairy products after having coffee, or a teeth-staining food, it will keep your teeth clean and free from stain.
It’s important to maintain proper dental hygiene. No home solutions or diet can take the place of regular brushing and flossing to take out bacteria and plaque from your teeth. Ensure you rinse or brush your teeth right after drinking and eating foods that can cause stains. One or two times a week’s use of whitening toothpaste can also keep typical yellowish discolouration and stains from the teeth surface.
Drinks and foods causing stain on teeth
Like we mentioned earlier, certain drinks and foods can stain your teeth. You must know what is responsible for stains on your teeth first if you want to whiten them safely. The following foods and drinks are common causes of teeth stains, so it’s either you reduce your intake or avoid them completely:
- Acidic and citric foods. Oranges, tomatoes, and other citrus fruits are good for the; however, the detin may get eroded from consuming them.
- Pasta sauce. One common cause of tooth stain is tomatoes, and they also contain acid. Pasta sauce gets stuck to the teeth and increase stains.
- Whether as blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, these antioxidant-rich fruits have the potential to stain teeth even if you eat them whole or in the form of jelly. To weaken the acid, eat cheese or drink milk after taking berries.
- It is the high amount of tannins or acidic polyphenols in coffee that makes it stain teeth. An even worse case is eating acidic food after taking coffee – it damages the teeth rapidly. Due to the acidic content of coffee, it disturbs the pH balance of the mouth.
- Also loaded with tannins, this damages the teeth. Black tea will turn your teeth yellow eventually. Green tea will cause grey-coloured teeth. Adding a little milk to tea will reduce staining.
- Red wines. Tannins-rich and teeth staining like tea. Examples of red wines: cabernet, merlot, and pinot noir.
- White wines. Brands like pinot grigio, chardonnay, and others will not stain the teeth but can darken present stains by boring tiny holes on the teeth surface that permits other beverages that can stain the teeth to enter.
Expert teeth whitening options
For less risky teeth whitening with no permanent damage to your enamel and faster results, go for professional teeth whitening. Some methods include:
- Chair-side bleaching. Safety and rapid results are the perks of this method, but it can cause tooth sensitivity. This treatment cost is between £282 to £665 and comes at an average price of £469. The procedure usually takes 30 to 60 minutes, and maintenance need to keep results.
- At-home custom tray whitening. Dentist prescribed custom-made trays are recommend for the safest and effective teeth whitening solution for home use. Using poor-fitting trays will allow the gel to leak into and irritate your gums. This can be avoided with specially customised trays. While this method takes more time to produce results, it is cheaper than the first. For 2 to 4 hours in the day, or throughout the night, you need to wear these trays. On average, treatment takes 2 weeks, but possibly 4 to 6 weeks. Each dental arch cost between £126 to £325. Usually, carbamide peroxide, which disintegrates into hydrogen peroxide (whitener), is found in these trays. The efficacy of this treatment is the same as an in-office procedure and even less pricey. But results can take 2 weeks to appear in comparison to an hour result provided by in-office treatment. But trays can stay for 5 years.
- KoR teeth whitening system (combination at-home and in-office). With an efficiency of 16 shades or more whitening, this method which combines at-home and in-office procedure, can give a more natural shade to your teeth. Here fitted customised trays containing a whitening gel effective up to 6 hours is worn by the patient. Many KoR teeth whiteners demand that you put on a customised tray for 2 weeks in the daytime or night. It depends on what you and your dentist have chosen. The at-home whitening, if combined, will require 2 weeks of whitening at home and one session in-office. Carbamide peroxide and hydremide peroxide solutions that protect the enamel that combine in the in-office treatment. KoR teeth whitening is significantly known to lower stain using tetracycline (an antibiotic) and provide long-lasting whitening effects. This product is always refrigerated to lower the sensitivity of bleaching gels.
Any side effects of expert teeth whitening?
8 to 41 per cent of people may experience gum inflammation and tooth sensitivity. This will disappear on its own after a few days or weeks. Despite its efficiency, the following persons may not get this treatment:
- Pregnant or nursing mothers
- Those with sensitive teeth or gums
- Peroxide-allergic persons
- Persons with cavities, worn enamel, gum disease
- Those having dental restorations like fillings and crowns
- Persons having white spot decalcifications
- Those with grey-coloured stains on the teeth
A professional in-office teeth whitening produces faster result than at-home procedure, diet change, and zero consumption of teeth-staining foods. Need one? Contact dentist w1 for an appointment.