You are all set to whiten your teeth this new year’s since it’s the winter break. However, there are tonnes of teeth whitening products to choose from when you are in the departmental store.
So what should you go for? Well, that depends on whether you need extensive whitening for darker stains or just need a slight change in your tooth color.
These several options address different needs. But don’t worry, we are here to make this selection easy for you.
Keep reading this article to know which product will suit your needs and how can you use it. So, let’s start!
Why Do Your Teeth Stain Yellow?
When you are younger, your baby teeth are the brightest. The dentin underneath the enamel is also a lighter color.
However, as you grow older, your permanent teeth start to erupt.
The dentin underneath also darkens with age. If anything wears down the enamel, the dentin starts to show.
This can happen because of excess intake of sugars and acids plus the presence of bacteria inside your mouth.
Once, the bacteria start metabolizing the sugars, the acids land onto the enamel and wear it down, revealing the darker dentin underneath.
This can get worse with age and the dentin’s appearance can get more apparent hence, giving you yellow teeth.
Moreover, medications, treatments and certain illnesses can also darken your teeth over time, such as chemotherapy in the head and neck region.
You can get a tooth injury in one particular tooth which can turn it darker as well.
That said, this kind of discoloration cannot be removed using OTC (over-the-counter) products.
You need to go to your dentist for a dental whitening treatment in order to get your teeth whitened from intrinsic stains.
Intrinsic discoloration does not occur on the enamel rather underneath it. Hence, you need products of high concentration to penetrate the enamel.
OTC products whiten extrinsic stains. These form on the enamel usually because of unhealthy eating and hygiene habits.
Eating foods and drinks that are dark in color leave a stain on your enamel. Examples include berries. balsamic vinegar dressing, coffee, red wine and tea.
Other than that, smoking also leaves behind a yellow-brown stain.
Poor oral hygiene accumulates plaque on your teeth. Plaque can harden to become tartar which not only stains your teeth but also puts you at risk for gum disease.
OTC products get rid of extrinsic stains. Let’s find out how!
Teeth Whitening Products for Minimal to Light Stains
If you have light stains then you do not need extensive treatments to get rid of them.
Products like a whitening pen, toothpaste or teeth whitening chewing gum can improve your teeth’ color to one shade.
Some whitening toothpaste contains abrasives while others have a bleaching agent.
Usually, all toothpaste contains abrasives so they can remove light stains to some extent.
These abrasives in the toothpaste or the bleaching agent in the form of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide can whiten your teeth up to one shade.
However, the results may only be apparent after regular use for 2 to 6 weeks.
You will need to brush twice using the whitening toothpaste so that it can remove surface stains.
Besides whitening, they can also gently polish your teeth and good oral hygiene through brushing teeth can further prevent staining.
Teeth Whitening Pen
If you need a quick, on-the-go fix for stains, a teeth whitening pen is your ideal option.
This product is used for touchups on light stains when you need a quick solution.
Unlike other whitening products, you do not need to wait for a long time to see results.
After twisting the pen, the gel comes out of the brush tip which you can apply to your teeth.
Let it stay in place just for a while and you are good to go.
Chewing gums that claim to whiten teeth are not exactly lying. It is hard to believe but they can actually change your teeth’ color up to one shade.
Though, that will be apparent after prolonged use. Chewing gums are also important in stimulating the salivary flow.
Hence, they keep the mouth clean and prevent the accumulation of bacteria. Provided they are sugar-free.
Teeth Whitening Products for Darker Stains
The whitening gel is the main product that whitens teeth.
Whether it is strips, or a mouth tray, that carry the product, you will need the gel to whiten your teeth.
The gel contains the bleaching agent i.e. 10 to 20 percent carbamide peroxide.
If you need more whitening then go for a gel having hydrogen peroxide instead. It is stronger than carbamide peroxide.
You can either use the gel in a teeth whitening kit, inside strips, in a pen or by placing it in a mouthguard.
However, you can also use it directly by applying it to your stains using a brush. Do so twice a day for 2 weeks or as per the instructions guide.
You can notice initial results within days of use. These results can last up to 4 weeks.
Gels are also used in mouth trays to whiten teeth.
All you have to do is put a drop and let it fill in the trays.
Since these gels contain a good concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, they can lighten dark stains.
You can either get customized mouth trays from your dentist or choose OTC ones that are free size.
However, the latter option is rather dangerous as the gel can leak and hurt your gums. Not only that, if the trays don’t fit, you will not get even whiteness.
Hence, the best option is to get custom-made trays from your dentist.
Add the gel inside and wear it for a few hours daily up to 4 weeks depending on the extent of discoloration you currently have.
Sometimes, you may have to wear it longer. Anyways, if you choose to wear it at night, make it the last step of your nighttime oral care routine.
Strips also remove dark stains.
Strips for Dark Stains and Rinse for Light Ones
Teeth whitening strips can remove dark stains and some may even penetrate the enamel to whiten teeth as long as they contain hydrogen peroxide.
The nearly transparent strips contain a whitening gel. The gel has a peroxide base that can whiten teeth accordingly.
Cut the strips to fit your teeth and use cotton to wipe off any excess so that it does not leak into the gums.
Follow the instructions to apply them for the allotted time.
The results can last up to 4 months if you follow the instructions and apply once or twice daily for the set amount of time (usually 2 weeks).
If you are not sure about the products to go for, then consult your dentist to recommend you.
Usually, strips and mouth trays are used for removing darker stains. While you can also try applying the gel directly.
For lighter stains, you can remove them through toothpaste or use a pen to cover them up.
Another option is to use a mouth rinse.
A mouth rinse will not give you immediate results. After constant use of 12 weeks, you can see any change.
Those specifically for whitening contain a small amount of hydrogen peroxide.
Swish it in your mouth for 60 seconds twice a day thoroughly.
However, no matter how thorough you are, you can still not cover all your teeth with the rinse.
Plus, 2 minutes of contact with the whitening agent is much less in comparison to 30 minutes of application of strips and mouth trays.
Hence, before buying a mouth rinse, keep your expectations realistic regarding its effectiveness.
That said, you can use it with other products to enhance the whitening effect.
For instance, after rinsing your mouth, brush your teeth with whitening toothpaste for an added effect.
Should You Get Teeth Whitening Products or Dental Whitening
You can use OTC products for lighter and darker stains as long as you are aware of these precautions:
- You do not have sensitive teeth
- Do not have dental restorations such as fillings, crowns, or veneers
- Children under 13 do not have adult teeth, they don’t need whitening
- Do not overuse products
- Prevent the leakage of gels into the mouth or gums
- You follow the directions and instructions strictly
- You do not have a single dark tooth
Removing extrinsic stains is possible with these products, however, it is difficult to remove intrinsic ones or get several degrees of whiter teeth.
Keep your expectations realistic with OTC products. They will not give the same whitening as a Zoom teeth whitening procedure.
However, it can still suffice your need. If you need to whiten your teeth up to several shades then do not hesitate to go to your dentist instead.
They can either perform a dental procedure or recommend at-home teeth whitening products that can improve your teeth’ shade to several degrees.
If you want to begin whitening your teeth then using products from credible brands such as Colgate and Crest can be a good start.
Begin with mild teeth whitening products such as toothpaste to see if you get sufficient change and then you can try others too.