What Is Teeth Whitening?
Also called teeth bleaching, it is a procedure of lightening your teeth’s colour by removing discolouration and stains. Teeth whitening can be done either at home or in the dentist’s office with products that mostly contain hydrogen peroxide.
What Causes Discoloured Teeth?
Teeth may discolour either to a yellow or brownish colour. Several factors can cause a colour change.
Dental plaque – This is a clear bacteria biofilm that forms naturally in the mouth, especially along the gum line. The film is usually invisible on the teeth. But some bacteria may stain the film and cause discolouration.
Food and drink – Foods and beverages that contain high sugar levels may discolour our teeth because they create a conducive environment for bacteria to breed. Those bacteria then digest those sugars into acids, which erode the enamel, exposing the yellow under-layer.
- Also, foods with high citric acid like lemons, tangerines, and oranges can cause teeth discolouration because of the high acid levels that erode the enamel.
- Drinks like coffee, tea, and red wine also contribute to teeth discolouration because of their dark colours that continuously stain the teeth.
Tobacco smoking- The tar present in tobacco adds a yellow-brownish stain on the neck of the teeth. When combined with oxygen, the tar and nicotine in the tobacco turns yellow and absorbs into the enamel’s pores with time.
Metallic compounds – We can get exposed to some metallic compounds like iron, copper, iodine, and nickel through the water we drink, certain medications, or inhaling dust containing these metals. They may enter the teeth’s bony structure and permanently discolour our teeth.
Bad oral hygiene – lack of proper and regular brushing and flossing will cause food particles to stick on and between our teeth, which eventually lead to yellowing and staining.
Medication – Some antibiotics and mouthwashes containing cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine are known to stain and discolour teeth.
Trauma – Suffering trauma on the teeth results in the tooth laying down more dentin, which is the inner yellow layer of the tooth.
Age – As we grow older, the enamel erodes, exposing the yellow layer of the teeth.
Disease – Some diseases may affect the tooth enamel and dentin, causing discolouration. Also, treatment like chemotherapy for head and neck cancer may affect the enamel.
Genetics – Some of us naturally have whiter teeth.
What Are The Options For Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening can be done at a dentist’s office or at home. Most of the products contain hydrogen peroxide.
At-home Teeth Whitening Products
1. Whitening toothpaste
Whitening toothpaste is a perfect way to deal with removing surface stains.