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How White Can My Teeth Get?

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

You may be curious about starting a teeth whitening product or treatment. How white your teeth can be after treatment depends on many factors, such as genetics, age, gender, and eating habits. Learn how professional teeth whitening treatments and products differ and why it's important to whiten your teeth safely.

Changing Teeth Shades is Normal

The shade of your teeth can be genetic, and the shade can change as you get older. Eating acidic or dark-colored foods, drinking coffee or tea, and smoking can make teeth look dull. According to a European Journal of Dentistry study, men and women had different tooth shades, and age was a significant variable that affected tooth shade.

Speaking with your dentist about teeth whitening treatments is important because your dentist can recommend the best option. Your dentist can use tools to measure the shade of your teeth and record the shade on a standardized scale. Professional teeth whitening can brighten your tooth shade at least one or two shades on this scale, depending on your circumstances.

Professional Whitening Treatments vs. Store-Bought Products

The good news is that several options are available to whiten your teeth, including treatments with your dentist, custom at-home whitening trays, and other whitening products. Whitening products sold in stores have lower concentrations of whitening ingredients, so results can be less dramatic and take longer. However, they are typically more cost-effective. Professional teeth whitening at your dentist's office can be completed in a single visit and have lasting results.

All whitening treatments, professional or over the counter, will need to be maintained with proper oral care and touch-ups. Whitening toothpaste can help remove surface stains from food and beverages.

The Dangers of Over-Whitening

Whitening your teeth safely is very important. Whitening ingredients can inflame your gums and increase your risk for tooth sensitivity. Whitening products bought at the store typically have a lower concentration of whitening ingredients. However, you can still damage your teeth and gums if you use those products for longer or more often than described in the directions.

How white your teeth can get depends on many factors. However, you can work with your dentist on the best achievable whitening and ensure those results are maintained. Use whitening products safely and according to directions, and maintaining proper oral care by brushing and flossing will ensure whitening results last as long as possible.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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