Woman wearing red sweater, demonstrating how to whiten teeth

How to Whiten Your Teeth?

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Have you noticed yellowness or stains on your teeth? Teeth can get stained as we age or from consuming certain foods and drinks. In India, more and more people are looking for ways to whiten their teeth - so you’re not alone!

The Indian Dental Association emphasises that oral health and the condition of your teeth have a significant impact on the quality of life. It's no wonder, then, that a large number of people are keen to explore how to whiten teeth. Let’s dive into some of the reasons for tooth discolouration and some practical tips on how to whiten teeth.

What is Yellowing of Teeth or Discolouration? 

Teeth can become yellow because of stains on the surface of your tooth (the enamel) or when the enamel is thin and the dentin underneath shows through. This discolouration can occur for various reasons, including poor oral hygiene, consumption of certain foods and beverages, ageing, or tobacco use. The good news is that, depending on the cause of the discolouration, there are ways to prevent and treat yellow teeth.

What Causes Yellowing or Tooth Discoloration?

Tooth discolouration and yellow stains are common occurrences that can arise due to various factors, including:

  • Accumulation of plaque
  • Inadequate oral hygiene practices
  • Excessive consumption of food or beverages like coffee or tea
  • Smoking
  • Tooth trauma or injury
  • Ageing or genetics

How to Whiten Teeth: Tips for a Brighter Smile

With several factors leading to tooth discolouration, it is important to know how to whiten the teeth. Here are some ways that can help you achieve whiter teeth that brighten your smile;

At-home Teeth Whitening Options

A variety of over-the-counter teeth whitening products are available for at-home teeth whitening, including toothpaste, whitening strips, and gels applied directly to teeth or delivered in trays. 

Whitening Toothpaste

Using a whitening toothpaste can help brighten your teeth without changing your everyday routine. Whitening toothpastes may have mild abrasives to remove extrinsic stains from your tooth's surface. These formulas rely primarily on polishing instead of bleaching to change the tooth's appearance. 

Other whitening toothpastes like Visible White O2 have newer formulations that can remove intrinsic stains.This toothpaste has an advanced whitening formula with millions of active oxygen bubbles to lighten tooth stains. It works not only on the surface but from the inside out and starts whitening in just 3 days. You can replace your regular toothpaste with whitening toothpaste and brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes to get a whiter smile at the convenience of your home.

Whitening Strips

Whitening strips apply a thin layer of bleaching agent directly to your teeth using a flexible plastic strip. The active ingredient is usually hydrogen peroxide. Though strips are convenient and cost-effective, they may be difficult to adhere directly to the tooth enamel if your teeth need alignment.

These require application of the strip for around 30 minutes to 1 hour. It's essential to carefully follow the directions on the label to avoid any issues. Incorrect use can cause tooth sensitivity, gum irritation, and enamel erosion.

Whitening Kits 

Another at-home whitening method involves applying bleaching gel to the teeth using whitening gels and customised guard trays. Oxidising agents such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide are used to lighten the tooth shade. This tailored tray reduces the risk of irritation by minimising the contact of the gel with your gums.

Follow your dentist's instructions for placing the bleaching solution in the tray and the recommended duration for wearing it on your teeth. Achieving the desired shade with at-home bleaching kits may take a few days to several weeks.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening treatments offer a range of whitening methods, including in-office procedures utilising powerful whitening agents combined with advanced technologies like laser or LED light activation for accelerated results.

In-Office Whitening

In-office teeth whitening treatments performed in a dental clinic use a stronger peroxide gel than at-home options. Your dental professional will take the necessary precautions to safeguard your gums with a protective gel before applying the whitening gel. Keep in mind that the results of teeth whitening can vary from person to person.

Custom Take-Home Trays

The take-home tray whitening process is a comfortable and quick way to brighten your teeth. To get started, your dental professional will take an impression of your teeth and create custom trays that fit perfectly. Once you have your trays, your dental professional will provide you with instructions on how to use them at home. You will need to apply a small amount of the bleaching solution to the trays and wear them for up to four hours a day for one to two weeks to achieve the desired whitening effect.

Professional teeth whitening treatments are expensive and not permanent, but they could last longer compared to over the counter whitening products. The duration of teeth whitening effects can vary depending on different factors, including the treatment type and individual habits.

How to Prevent Yellowing of Teeth?

Although several methods are available to remove stains, it is important to note that taking preventative measures can help avoid the yellowing of teeth altogether.

Brushing and Flossing

Maintaining good oral hygiene starts with a simple yet essential habit – brushing your teeth regularly. According to the Indian Dental Association (IDA), it is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. 

However, if you're thinking about how to make teeth whiter, using a whitening toothpaste would be ideal since regular toothpaste is not made for stain removal or teeth whitening. These toothpastes often have the benefits of a regular toothpaste in addition to their whitening capability. Flossing helps remove germs that can otherwise buildup as plaque on hard-to-reach surfaces, which may also cause your teeth to seem yellow.

Dietary Habits

Dietary habits play a significant role in preventing yellow teeth and contribute to how to make your teeth white. Being mindful of pigmented foods and staining beverages such as coffee, tea, and red wine can help prevent the yellowing of teeth. Additionally, drinking water throughout the day effectively rinses away food particles and acidic residues that can lead to tooth discolouration, thereby contributing to overall oral hygiene. 

Key Takeaways

For those seeking to restore the natural colour of their teeth and wondering how to whiten teeth effectively, a variety of whitening methods are available to address surface stains. Whether considering at-home whitening solutions or professional treatments, there's a range of options to choose from. Additionally, incorporating simple yet crucial habits such as regular brushing, flossing, and swishing with a mouthwash into your daily routine can significantly contribute to maintaining the brightness of your smile.

Consistent oral hygiene practices and routine dental checkups are key to achieving and preserving pearly white teeth if you are wondering how to have white teeth. Selecting the most suitable teeth whitening method for your needs can take you closer to achieving a more radiant smile! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can yellow teeth become white again?

Yes, yellow teeth can become whiter with the help of various teeth whitening methods and treatments. These may include professional dental procedures, over-the-counter whitening products, or natural teeth whitening methods. The effectiveness of how to get white teeth depends on the natural colour of your teeth, the cause of tooth discolouration, and the chosen whitening method.

What are the risks of teeth whitening?

Regardless of the whitening method you opt for, there is a possibility of your gums becoming sensitive to some ingredients, especially if you already have sensitive teeth. It's advisable to consult with a dentist to determine the most suitable approach.

Does teeth whitening work on all teeth?

All teeth whitening treatments will not be equally effective on all people, and not all teeth will whiten to the same degree. Teeth whitening may not be as effective on certain stains caused by medications or trauma. Consult with a dentist on how to whiten teeth and address any underlying dental issues.

Is teeth whitening suitable for everyone?

Teeth whitening is generally safe for adults with healthy teeth and gums. Individuals with dental restorations should avoid teeth whitening. A dental consultation can help you understand how to make teeth whiter and whether it is suitable for you.