When your pearly whites are glistening and clean, people notice. They also notice if your teeth are dingy and yellow. Lifestyle choices and genetics can affect the color of our teeth, but teeth whitening products can make them look as white as fresh snow. But, is teeth whitening safe?
How Do Teeth Become Discolored?
Teeth become discolored because of genetics, health history, and lifestyle choices. You could brush and floss after every meal, loyally visit your dentist every six months, and live a healthy lifestyle, and your teeth might never be pearly white. Some people just have yellow teeth.
Some medications and illnesses can discolor teeth. Some people have discolored teeth due to aging or tooth trauma at a young age.
But there are ways to avoid your teeth from progressively becoming darker shades of yellow. The lifestyle choices you make can stain your teeth. For example, people who drink coffee, tea, red wine, or dark sodas run the risk of staining their teeth. If you smoke, you are likely to have yellow teeth as well.
Your dental hygiene can also affect the color of your teeth. When you visit the dentist every six months, the hygienists can clean away the plaque that discolors your teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day, helps to maintain the work your hygienist does. The dentists at Christiansen Dental recommend routine dental cleanings to keep your teeth naturally white.
Types of Teeth Whitening
There are a few categories of teeth whitening products. Some you can buy over-the-counter and use at home, while others have to be administered by dental professionals. The latter usually contain an active ingredient called carbamide peroxide.
Over-the-counter products use ingredients like hydrogen peroxide to remove stains and whiten teeth. You usually have to use a whitening toothpaste or a gel you apply in a tray. Some people use whitening strips as an option. There are also whitening products that rely on lights and lasers to fight yellow stains.
Bart Christiansen, a dentist in Centennial CO, recommends only using teeth whitening products that have been approved by the ADA. You should make sure to carefully follow the instructions to receive the full effectiveness and to prevent any damage.
Side Effects & Other Considerations
Before you use teeth whitening products, you should know about the potential side effects. Whitening products include chemicals that you wouldn’t normally put on your teeth, which can result in your teeth becoming temporarily sensitive.
Another potential side effect is damage to the dentin layer in the tooth. Hydrogen peroxide, the common bleaching ingredient, is the culprit for this side effect. Researchers with the ADA are studying the long-term effects of damage to the hard tissue below the enamel layer. They have yet to discover if the damage is reversible, temporary, or life-long.
People who have had their teeth whitened seem to be more susceptible to cavities and tooth fractures when compared to people who haven’t used teeth whitening products with hydrogen peroxide. In the early stages of tooth whitening, some people report gum irritation, but it usually stops after a few treatments.