photo of whitening strip for teeth lacombe dental

Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Your Options

Teeth Whitening is important  because some foods and drinks will naturally leave stains on your teeth when you consume them. To combat these stains, you can use:

  • Toothpastes
  • Home-Use Kits
  • Professionally-administered dental products

All of these methods can come with different results.

man smiling with white teeth

man with white teeth

Toothpaste is made with fine abrasives which can remove some stain from teeth. Toothpaste can also contain a whitener for extra stain removal. With extended use, toothpastes can potentially lighten the shade of your teeth by one shade.

Home-use kits can have slight better results by using gels, strips, or trays that have more direct, regular contact with your teeth for the cleaner to take effect.

Professional Light-activated whitening performed in the dental office can lighten the shade of your teeth by three to five shades. The types of agents used in this procedure will penetrate and remove deeper stains than the use of a surface whitener. Despite its cosmetic benefits, whitening is not to be mistaken for the benefits of a professional cleaning at your dental clinic.

No One-Size-Fits-All

Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware that not everyone’s teeth respond well to whitening. Staining due to medications, years of tobacco use or the aging process will not be removed due to staining caused by food and drink. As well, some people have naturally whiter teeth while others may have naturally more yellow teeth. The perception of how white a person’s teeth are will depend on skin tone, makeup and complexion.

Is It Safe?

When used appropriately and not excessively, whitening treatment can be done safely. For some, however, tooth sensitivity and irritation of soft tissue can occur from long-term use.

Whitening Consultation

Consulting with your dentist can help determine if you’re a candidate, but also determine the cause of your staining and whether the desired results are possible.

Depending on the results of your consultation, recommendations may include:

  1. Placing light activated gel on teeth for a 90 minute in- office session
  2. Take home kits and trays to whiten at your own pace
  3. Brushing with a toothpaste that contains whitening ingredients

Speak with your dentist to decide what is right for your teeth.

For more about tooth whitening, visit the Canadian Dental Association.

Share this post