Many people are concerned about the appearance of their teeth. One of the most common issues with the appearance of teeth is their color. So, how can you whiten your teeth? It’s important to whiten your teeth safely, so your teeth stay healthy long-term.
How to Whiten Your Teeth
There are many bleaching and whitening products available that can help to get rid of stains and lighten the appearance of your teeth. Dentists also offer professional whitening services. To find the right whitening products, it’s helpful to know how stains on teeth occur and how teeth whitening products and procedures work.
Why Are My Teeth Yellow?
First of all, how do teeth get yellow? The dentin, underneath your tooth enamel, is actually yellow in color, not white. The tough, outer layer protecting the surface of the tooth, the tooth enamel, is off-white. Tooth enamel is the toughest substance in the human body. It’s made up of 96% minerals, mostly hydroxylapatite, a type of calcium apatite.
The structure of tooth enamel is also porous, so it’s possible for substances to make their way through this layer. This is one type of stain that can make your teeth yellow. Stains can also sit on top of the enamel layer. This biofilm layer, called dental pellicle, forms after eating. This can also make teeth look yellow. Fighting either of these types of stains will make your teeth whiter.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Many types of teeth whitening are safe. However, it is important to be careful, as some types of teeth whitening can damage your tooth enamel or the dentin underneath. If you are concerned about teeth whitening, it’s helpful to ask your dentist or specialist about the treatment. Here are a few ways that you might whiten your teeth.
At-Home Teeth Whitening Products
Most at-home teeth whitening products use either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to whiten teeth. These at-home teeth whitening products might include strips or paste that sits on your teeth for a short time and is later rinsed off. These substances are bleaching agents, so they lighten the stains on teeth. These agents work into the tooth enamel and lighten the color of the enamel.
These at-home whitening products use relatively low levels of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. This helps to prevent damage to the tooth enamel. However, using these products too often or letting the product sit on teeth too long can cause damage. Don’t use these products longer or more often than directed on the box.
Dental Teeth Whitening Procedures
Many dentists offer teeth whitening procedures that will provide more dramatic results. These procedures generally use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide solutions as well, however professional treatments use a higher concentration of these bleaching agents.
The dentist will first clean the teeth, and then protect the gums before administering professional whitening agents. A dentist might use a high-intensity light to accelerate the process. The teeth whitening products will sit on your teeth for a set time period and the dentist will then rinse your teeth. A dentist performs this procedure because the high concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide can damage teeth if used inappropriately.
Stain prevention is one of the best ways to whiten your teeth. These techniques can help you prevent stains before they occur. As you might expect, substances like coffee, wine and tobacco will stain your teeth more quickly. The tannins in coffee and wine as well as the nicotine in tobacco products can create stains. Reducing the intake of these substances can help to prevent stains. If you do drink coffee, wine, or use tobacco products, use mouthwash or drink water after or during use. This will prevent the tannins or nicotine from sitting on your teeth and worsening stains.
There are many ways to whiten your teeth. You might work with your dentist or use at-home teeth whitening products. Whatever option you choose, be careful not to expose your teeth or your body to unsafe chemicals. If you are concerned about the appearance of your teeth, make an appointment with one of our experts to learn more about teeth whitening procedures.