Teeth whitening tips

Our hygienist Ben shares some teeth whitening tips, advice, personal preference and a cautionary tale, all on the subject of how to get a whiter smile.

My best tip for whitening your teeth?  Don't do it at the hairdresser or the beauty salon or a little booth at the shopping mall or supermarket.  It's illegal.  It flies in the face of European law, it isn't safe and isn't regulated.

Whitening HAS to be performed by a dental professional.
The thing that I say to patients is “you wouldn't come to us for a haircut, so why go to a salon for your teeth treatments?”.  And I mean it.  You really don't want me anywhere near your hair with a pair of scissors. 

So, technically that type of 'beauty salon' whitening is banned.  But the way the salons flout the law is because the providers don't actually put their hands into your mouth.  They get you to insert the moulds and the bleaching agents yourself.  It's a mess, but it's how they get around the law.

Damage caused by teeth whitening treatments

Teeth themselves are quite resilient, so you probably aren't going to damage your teeth by having one of these treatments, but gums are delicate. 

I've seen some horrendous burns and blisters on gums.  The trays aren't made by a dental lab, so they aren't fitted to your mouth.  They're just a universal, one size fits all thing, so the bleach will leak onto your gums, and will burn off the soft tissue.

Teeth whitening regulations

Another issue with these practitioners being unregulated is that they don't have a professional council like we have with the GDC (General Dental Council). 

There's no way of you going back to them and holding them professionally liable if they hurt you.  There's also no way of regulation of the chemicals being used; there's no professional guidance on how much to use or how to use it, so the agents just buy what they think they need online and mix them using a 'one size fits all' approach.  So if anything does happen, or goes wrong, you've got no way of knowing exactly what was used, in what potency and no comeback.  Please, just avoid these treatments, whether in a salon, supermarket or in kit form that you buy online.

Whitening toothpastes

The best thing I can say about whitening toothpastes, even the most popular or most expensive ones, is that they are a tiny bit better at removing stains than regular toothpaste. 

But they are never, ever going to whiten your teeth. 

It takes a chemical to whiten teeth that is just not present in any useful quantity in toothpaste.  Using a normal toothpaste and a good brushing technique is just as good for the cosmetic look of your teeth as spending a fortune on whitening toothpastes.

The only safe and sure way to cosmetically whiten your teeth is through a hygienist or a dentist.

Celebrity smiles

Want a smile that's as bright as your favourite celebrity? 

Remember that a lot of the celebrities you see with fluorescent white 'perfect' teeth, those teeth aren't real – they are a mouthful of veneers. 

They are all porcelain, and haven't been achieved by brushing or whitening – they've been made that colour in a dental laboratory. 

Professional whitening treatments will make your teeth look lighter and will freshen up your natural smile.  It can't replace teeth or make wonky teeth straight.  You won't leave a whitening treatment session suddenly looking like Simon Cowell…

SARAH  "Find out once and for all how to prevent those pesky red wine stains on your teeth and lips.

Visit my Date Night Teeth Tips page."

Natural teeth whitening

Here are seven tricks to making your teeth whiter that won’t break the bank.

  1. Avoid red wine, coffee, tea, foods with dark pigmentation such as soy sauce and curry powders such as turmeric
  2. Throw away your old toothbrush – it just won’t be able to brush as effectively
  3. Brush your tongue – it accumulates bacteria which can lead to discolouration of the teeth
  4. After eating acidic fruits swill your mouth with water. The frequent acid can erode tooth enamel which can make teeth stain more easily
  5. Avoid energy drinks.  They're just as acidic as fruit juice
  6. Floss and / or use interdentals really well before brushing as staining food and drink likes to cling to plaque
  7. Book in for an AirFlow treatment with me – the ultimate in stain removal.

Professional teeth whitening

The best, most attractive smiles look natural and healthy.

After a professional whitening treatment with us, they are still going to be your teeth, with all the natural characteristics they have, like slight gradients in colour, just brighter and fresher. That's really good – it makes people more confident.  No more smiling behind your hand because you feel your teeth are yellow or stained.

Also, taking teeth to an unnaturally fluorescent white shade looks daft – it looks false and obvious.  A row of brilliant white teeth can, ironically, more you feel more self-conscious because it looks so unnatural. 

So come in and see me about a whitening process that'll make your smile look bright and fresh.

Following an examination and consultation we supply both home whitening kits and laser whitening at the practice.  These really are the only two options you should consider.  Come in and have a chat.  See you soon.