10 Interesting Facts About Teeth Whitening
White teeth are often associated with healthy teeth. They generally are much more visually appealing. According to one survey, roughly 30% of the respondents indicated that one of the first things they notice about another person is their teeth. Another 24% indicated that your smile is one of the most prominent facial aspects they remember after meeting you. That means that teeth can either make or break many first impressions.
Teeth whitening is a big part of making sure that your pearly whites stay that way. While there are some misconceptions about teeth whitening, below are some teeth whitening facts that you should consider if you are thinking about a teeth whitening treatment.
1. Your teeth have pores.
Your teeth absorb materials from the food you eat and the liquids you drink. Staining is often caused by the absorption of color from food and drinks like coffee and red wine. Smoking will stain your teeth as well. Most teeth whitening treatments will open the pores of your teeth to remove that discoloration.
Active charcoal, for example, actually absorbs better than your teeth. It scrubs and then absorbs surface stains from the teeth to help address issues with discoloration.
2. Teeth whitening does not damage your teeth.
There are some misconceptions that whitening your teeth can actually damage your teeth. However, there is very little truth to this myth. As long as you use the treatment as directed and do not overdo it, teeth whitening is very safe.
Most teeth whitening treatments involve temporarily opening the pores in your teeth and lifting stains. The teeth then naturally close those pores and re-mineralize after a teeth whitening treatment.
3. Some sensitivity after a tooth whitening treatment is normal.
Over 25% of Americans have naturally sensitive teeth. That means that they occasionally have pain with differing temperatures or have pain reactions to certain types of food, such as sugars. Teeth whitening sometimes results in temporary increased sensitivity. The sensitivity often occurs within 12 to 36 hours after treatment, and it may last for several days.
4. Some discoloration cannot be removed.
Some people have naturally off-white or yellowed teeth. They may have a genetic component that caused this, or they may be on a medication that results in yellowed teeth. As we age, our teeth often become darker, as well.
Teeth whitening, no matter what kind of treatment you use, generally focuses on surface stains. Genetic or deeper discoloration often cannot be changed with most teeth whitening treatments. Your dentist may have some options for these deeper issues, but most conventional teeth whitening methods will not help with these deeper stains.
5. The best time to whiten your teeth is before bed.
Because whitening involves opening the pores of your teeth, your teeth are more likely to become re-stained just after you finish a whitening treatment. That means that you should avoid eating and drinking right away after treatment.
Whitening just before bed reduces the opportunities you have to eat or drink, and it gives your teeth the whole night to rehydrate and re-mineralize after a treatment.
6. Calculus (or tartar) also affects the color of your teeth.
You may have noticed that a good cleaning will also make your teeth appear brighter. That is because a deep clean will remove plaque from your teeth. If you do not brush and floss regularly, plaque will harden to become calculus or tartar. The hardened plaque will also have a significant effect on the color of your teeth.
That also means that keeping your teeth clean will help with keeping your smile bright!
7. How long a tooth whitening treatment will last varies from person to person.
The color of your teeth is greatly affected by what you eat and drink. It also varies based on whether you smoke or take certain medications. If you have had a tooth whitening treatment, it could last several months, or the effects could continue several years, depending on the type of treatment.
For example, a whitening treatment is likely to not last as long for a regular smoker compared to someone who does not smoke. Stains begin to rebuild on your teeth as soon as the treatment stops. If your habits do not change, then you will likely have staining again in the future.
8. People have been attempting to whiten their teeth since the 4th century.
Wanting whiter teeth is not a new cosmetic desire. There is evidence that teeth whitening treatments have been in existence since at least the 4th century. Those treatments contained rock salt, pepper, dried flowers, and mint. Ancient Romans are reported to have used goat’s milk and ground pumice stone.
Whitening and brushing with activated charcoal have also been existence since Roman times. The Romans combined charcoal, oyster shells, bark, and crushed bones to make toothpaste.
Today’s teeth whitening methods have really only started in the 20th century, and most involve chemical compounds like carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide.
9. Whitening will generally require more than one session.
Despite claims from some teeth whitening agents, you cannot whiten your teeth noticeably over night with just one treatment. Instead, it will likely take more than one treatment for your teeth to have a notable change in color. How many sessions you need will depend on the type of stains you are trying to treat and how set-in those stains may be.
10. The whitening method you use will affect how well it works.
When you use whitening toothpaste, you are less likely to see a noticeable difference in your smile, even after several weeks of brushing. When you go through a formal whitening treatment, especially when using strips or mouth trays that fit your mouth well, you are more likely to notice a difference. The delivery of the whitening treatment matters!