Teeth whitening: does it actually work?

There are various different ways that the teeth can be whitened.

Firstly, we will look at professional bleaching (usually undertaken with a registered dentist).

Dental bleaching involves the use of a whitening product, usually Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide. The ingredients are ‘active ingredients’ which means when the ingredients are broken down, oxygen accesses the enamel on the teeth subsequently altering the tooth colour.

Did you know, genes also have a part to play in the tooth whitening process? Genetically you could have great enamel, the same way as genetically you could have good skin. We vary as individuals in so many ways – hence some people have naturally whiter teeth than others.

The treatments that advise you that your teeth will be whitened instantly are lying. Usually it takes three to four weeks and a couple of visits to the dentist to achieve an obvious whitened look. Teeth whitening is not a permanent procedure and if you want to keep up the whitened look, then of course, you’re going to have to keep getting the treatment. As a Cardiff dental surgery we always advise our clients that teeth whitening procedures don’t provide results overnight, so don’t buy into any that state otherwise!

The tooth whitening products that we see splashed all over social media are mostly sponsored. By that, companies have paid for celebrity endorsement and therefore, you should always look closely at the ingredients within the products to ensure that they do actually work. Try not to take social media influences as an indication that the product will work for you.

That being said, not all teeth are going to react the same way to each product. How badly your teeth are stained will depend on how effective the treatments become.

There are various foods and drinks that will affect the teeth whitening process. For example, if you smoke your results will be different from a non-smoker. Dark coloured drinks such as coffee, coke and red wine can also impact the effect of the procedure.

Then there’s the matter of overall hygiene. If you don’t brush your teeth and take regular care of your mouth then it’s going to affect the process. You can’t expect a chemical to change the colour of your teeth if you’re not going to maintain good oral hygiene.

In short, tooth whitening by a registered local dentist will always provide results. The effectiveness of those results will depend on yourself and the product you’re using. Seek advice and always read the label if you’re buying from the high-street and not a local Cardiff dentist like us!