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Teeth Whitening: 5 Ways to Get a Much Brighter Smile

Older Woman Smiling

If there’s anything that our dentistry in Orem, Utah, knows, it’s that most people want a brighter smile. Flossing and brushing your teeth might cover the bare necessities of dental hygiene. But most people feel it doesn’t give them the set of pearly whites they desire.

In the U.S., 80% of Americans between ages 18-49 want whiter teeth. If you fall in that percentage, there are few things you need to know about teeth whitening first.

Why Do Teeth Change Color?

This largely depends on various reasons, such as:

Foods and Beverages

No matter how satisfying that first cup of coffee is or how opulent that glass of red wine is, it still stains your teeth. Food and beverages like balsamic vinegar, tea, soy sauce, tomato-based sauces, and energy drinks all contain intense color pigments known as 

Chromogens. These color pigments cause tooth discoloration.

Smoking and Tabacco

Smoking or chewing tobacco can severely stain teeth because of two chemicals: Tar and nicotine. Naturally, tar is dark, and nicotine is colorless until it’s combined with oxygen. This combination turns into a yellowish substance that is sure to leave a stain.

Neglecting Dental Hygiene Practices

If you don’t practice good dental hygiene habits, food stains and plaque will build up on your teeth. Be sure to visit your dentist regularly to avoid this and take care of your dental health.


It’s no secret that certain pharmaceutical medications will discolor your teeth. Antibiotics such as tetracycline and doxycycline may affect enamel development in children under 8 years old. Furthermore, antipsychotics, Antihistamines, and antihypertensive may discolor your teeth too.


Through aging, the outer layer of the enamel (white outer layer) of your teeth becomes worn. This process leaves dentin (yellowish core under the enamel) exposed.


Mouth injuries may cause discoloration to your teeth. Mouth trauma will force your teeth to react by lying down with more yellow dentin. For children under 8, mouth trauma can interrupt their enamel formation, causing tooth discoloration.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Whitening your teeth is a seamless process. The whitening products used in the process comprise one of two bleachers: hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These bleachers effectively break the stains in your teeth into smaller pieces.

This results in concentrated color and much brighter teeth.

Can Any Teeth Be Whitened?

Unfortunately, not. You need to consult with your dentists before whitening your teeth, as this procedure doesn’t correct all stained teeth.

Yellow teeth can be easily bleached. Brown teeth might not be as responsive, and for teeth with grey discoloration, the bleach might not work at all.

You can’t get caps, crowns, fillings, or veneers whitened as it won’t work. And if medication or trauma caused your tooth discoloration, bleach won’t work.

What Teeth Whitening Options Do I Have?

It’s crucial to consult with your dentist about whitening your teeth. There are four ways you can do it:

1. Stain Removal Toothpaste

All kinds of toothpaste help remove stains from your teeth through the mild abrasives that scrub your teeth. For the best results, purchase whitening toothpaste that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance for whitening on it. These tubes of toothpaste will not change the color of your teeth like bleach, but they will remove stains from the surface.

2. Chairside Bleaching

This procedure usually requires only one dentist visit. Your dentist will apply either a protective gel or a rubber shield to protect your gums. Afterward, the dentist will apply bleach to whiten your teeth.

3. At-home Bleaching

If you’re more comfortable doing the bleaching at home the arrange this with your dentist. Your dentist will give you a custom-made tray for this process. You will also be told how to place the bleaching solution in the tray and for how long.

4. Over-the-counter Bleaching Products

You can find different teeth whitening agents in grocery stores, such as strips or toothpaste. Notify your dentist before using any products. Ensure the whitening agents you buy have the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This seal will guarantee that the product is safe and effective for teeth whitening.

Can Teeth Whitening Cause Side Effects?

There are few side effects to teeth whitening, but some people experience tooth sensitivity.

In this case, tooth sensitivity is usually when the peroxide in the bleach goes through the enamel, to the dentin and aggravates the nerve of your tooth. This is temporary, and you can delay treatment to whiten your teeth again.

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It's time to clean those pearly whites!