How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

If people are asked what they would like to improve about their smile their response generally is to have whiter teeth.

Sugar used to be an expensive commodity, reserved for the wealthy. If you consumed large amounts of sugar you were considered wealthy.

A side effect of consuming sugar was your teeth rotted away and turned black. We have come a long way since those days and clearly, people are after healthy, whiter and brighter teeth.

What Makes our Teeth White?

Teeth are made up of two layers – the outer layer of white enamel and an inner yellow core of dentin. Over time the white can lose its crisp appearance.

White enamel can become discoloured for various reasons – the food we consume, the types of drinks we have like tea, coffee and alcohol and tobacco staining to name a few. Because of age, brushing or trauma the enamel can break down, revealing the underlying yellow dentin.

In tobacco it is two specific substances that are responsible for staining your teeth and these are tar and nicotine. Tar is a dark colour and nicotine is colourless until it mixes with oxygen when it turns into a familiar yellowy stain on your teeth.

Some medications are also responsible for teeth losing their crisp white colour. Antihistamines, antipsychotics and high blood pressure medications as well as chemotherapy and head and neck radiation can discolour teeth.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

The principle of teeth whitening is relatively simple. Products used to whiten teeth contain bleaches, which break down the particles on your teeth into smaller pieces, which reduces the colour in concentration and gives your teeth a whiter appearance.

How Do Dentists Whiten Teeth?

To whiten teeth your dentist uses some form of bleach, either hydrogen peroxide or an organic compound called carbamide in very specific controlled amounts.

These treatments can be administered in the office or dispensed for use at home. Usually your dentist will clean your teeth and fill any cavities first.

How to Whiten Teeth in the Comfort of the Home

Whitening products are available over the counter and use the same ingredients a dentist will use. They are effective but you should make sure your teeth and gums are healthy before using them.

Can All Teeth be Whitened?

Before deciding to whiten your teeth you should consult a dentist since not all teeth respond to whitening products. If your discolouration is due to an injury, whitening may not help. Discuss your individual needs with your Moss Vale dentist.

Things You Need to Know about Whitening Teeth

Sometimes whitening can weaken enamel and cause sensitivity. Dentists mix whitening agents with fluoride to strengthen teeth. If the problem occurs using an over-the-counter product it’s best to use the whitening product less often and perhaps use an over-the-counter soothing product such as Orajel.

Whitening products are available over-the-counter, but we recommend that you visit a dentist to determine your best treatment options. Store bought options will not be as reliable or as effective as professional treatments.