Teeth whitening products
New technology and access to OTC whitening products mean that everyone has access to teeth-whitening products that are affordable and effective. If you're looking for a way to take years off your face, compare what you spend on makeup and cosmetics and then take a look at what teeth-whitening has to offer.
From dark to bright
Teeth with dark stains can achieve up to 11 or 12 shades lighter, while lightly stained teeth will be lighter and brighter. But if your teeth are deeply stained, skip the over-the-counter products and go straight to professional, in-office whitening treatments. "Modern equipment can penetrate your tooth's surface more deeply and access stains that OTC products aren't strong enough to reach," says Dr. Goluyb-Evans, of NYCCD.com, Cosmetic Dentist to some of Hollywood's hottest celebrities.
Whitening toothpastes are an easy way to give teeth whitening a try without spending a lot of money. All toothpastes whiten your teeth to some extent as they clean the surface. Those with whitening claims add another layer of stain removal with special additives. But whitening toothpastes don’t bleach your teeth.
Over-the-counter teeth-whitening kits deliver the whitening agent in one of two ways — through a strip that you stick to your teeth or through a tray that you fill with a gel and apply to your teeth. Both typically use peroxide to bleach your teeth. You’ll usually wear the strips for 30 minutes at a time, twice a day, for seven to 14 days depending on how strong the bleaching agent is.
Chairside bleaching is a procedure that takes place in your dentist’s office. He or she will apply a peroxide-based gel to your teeth (this teeth whitener may be stronger than those you use at home), then a blue lamp with a special wave length is used to initiate the whitening effect. The procedure takes 30 to 60 minutes. Occasionally, your dentist may give you take-home whitening trays to lock in or enhance the whitening achieved in the office. [via daily glow]
"All whitening treatments use the same [carbamide or hydrogen] peroxide, no matter what you pay," Dr. Golub-Evans explains. "The more expensive procedures you can have done in a dentist's office just offer a more concentrated dose, which means the results will last longer — usually three to five years."
I have done a bit of local research on products available and, with the exception of Pearl Drops, have come up with very little. However, many teeth-whitening products are available for purchase online, and these still offer an affordable way to whiten teeth.
Dr. Golub-Evans recommends Crest 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips, which includes the same enamel-safe whitening agent dentists use. Four treatments cost about R562 incl pp and provide whitening in two hours for a whiter small that lasts up to three months.
"The advantage of using strips is because they keep the peroxide localized on your teeth," Dr. Golub-Evans explains, noting that you can use the strips every other day instead of daily to reduce sensitivity and get the same quality results.
If you have sensitive teeth and gums, try a product that carefully targets your teeth, such as the Listerine Whitening Pen which allows you to paint bleaching agents carefully on stained areas — you can even focus on specific teeth rather than treating your entire mouth.
"While professional whitening is a more expensive option, it's also a quick option that will provide results that lasts for years," says Dr. Golub-Evans.
Maintaining a beautiful smile
Coffee and tea drinkers, those that smoke and irregular dental checkups or poor oral hygiene are all at risk for developing stains on teeth.
While you can take advantage of OTC options for immediate results, and professional teeth-whitening for longer lasting results, brightening your smile can be as easy as adding a whitening toothpaste to your routine. A little daily maintenance can make a big difference without requiring you to set aside special whitening time. Try Colgate Total Advanced Whitening Gel that does all the work of a cavity-fighting toothpaste while also offering whitening benefits.
By introducing crunchy food into your daily meals you will be doing your teeth a favour. Fresh foods such as apples, carrot or celery break into pieces and rub the surface of your teeth, thus eliminating food residues around and on your teeth that may cause cavities and ugly stains. This small trick needs nothing more but a little attention so that you can achieve a wonderful smile.
For coffee and tea drinkers, a glass of water after is a great way to combar tooth discolouration. Whether you drink it or swish it around your mouth, it gives your teeth a quick clean and cuts down on staining. If you're really serious about whitening your teeth, add a squeeze of lemon juice to a glass of water - It's also great for weight loss!
How badly stained are my teeth?
If you know your teeth are stained but are not sure the extent of the damage, compare the colour of your teeth to that of your white toothpaste when brushing.
Over time and even with regular brushing, the small pores in tooth enamel become filled with debris - causing a yellowing effect. These stains are easily removed with a few treatments.
Obviously the damage is more extensive and may require a longer treatment period, sometimes up to a month depending upon the project you use. However, with OTC products you can expect to go five or six shades lighter.
Grey stains on teeth are normally an indication of damage by antibiotics or decay. Stains of this nature are best left to a tooth-whitening professional.
If you start to see a slight bluish tint to your tooth colour it's time to stop whitening and give your teeth a break. This is normally a sign of over-use of whitening products and can be difficult to correct.