How to Whiten Teeth Naturally and Quickly
Have your teeth begun to lose their brightness and taken on a yellow or grayish tint? Are you starting to notice stains that weren’t there before, and worried that you’ll have to live with them and hold back a full smile forever? Settling for stains on our teeth and being less than satisfied with their whiteness has become a thing of the past. Teeth whitening is all the rage today, and with good reason! It works. It’s also a less expensive alternative to bonded restorative dentistry and is a non-invasive, safe, and effective technique. Let’s look at what causes stains, how teeth whitening works, and how you can whiten your teeth naturally, safely, and quickly with an LED teeth whitening kit.
How Do Teeth Get Stained?
Teeth consist of two layers, an inner dentin layer and a hard outer layer of enamel that is there to provide protection. Tooth enamel may be hard, but it is also porous, which means staining agents like tobacco or certain foods and drinks seep into the enamel, causing discoloration. Aging, genetics, and poor oral healthcare practices are also factors.
Foods and drinks to avoid in excess:
- Red wine
- Fruit juices
- Blueberries and blackberries
- Tomato sauce
All the good stuff, right? Well, except maybe beets. In any case, moderation applies here, especially when you’re looking to whiten your teeth. Let’s see how it works.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
The teeth whitening process is quite simple, actually. It’s basic science. All teeth whitening products contain a bleaching agent, either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. When carbamide peroxide comes into contact with water, it breaks down into hydrogen peroxide.
The peroxide then breaks down the stain itself into smaller pieces, lightening the color of the stain. How much lighter depends on the strength of the peroxide solution, the degree of staining, the health of your teeth, and how long the solution stays on your teeth.
So that’s the basics of how teeth whitening works. Next, we’ll look at the difference the addition of LED lighting makes in the teeth whitening process.
LED Teeth Whitening Kits
The addition of LED lighting to the bleaching properties of teeth whitening products has caught on both in dental office treatments and with at-home teeth whitening kits. LED lighting emits a cool light that works in conjunction with the hydrogen peroxide bleaching agent. The light, which is energy, penetrates the tooth enamel, helping the peroxide break down the stain faster.
LED stands for light-emitting diode, and it releases a single color of light on the visible light spectrum when exposed to electricity. It accelerates the lightening process, which is why the LED teeth whitening process is also known as “power whitening.”
Your kit will contain everything you’ll need to whiten your teeth the natural way, quickly and easily. An LED teeth whitening kit will save you time and money when used correctly, giving you a whiter and brighter smile – naturally!
How Do I Use My LED Teeth Whitening Kit?
You’ll always want to follow specific directions for your kit, but in general, here’s what you can expect.
Your kit will come with gel-filled trays that contain whitening agents that you insert into your mouth. Once the trays are in place, you will shine an LED light into your mouth to speed up the bleaching process. After about 20 to 30 minutes, you can remove the trays, although the length of time they should remain depends on your teeth, the level of whiteness desired, and the product’s instructions.
A general estimate for the entire process is about an hour, so before starting, be sure you have that block of time available.
Once you have reached the shade that you are happy with, you can move on to the maintenance stage.
Are LED Teeth Whitening Kits Safe?
Tooth whitening has been deemed safe and effective, according to a 2014 study published by the National Institute of Health. The LED lighting is cool due to its efficient heat-dissipating design, so you don’t have to worry about any harm from heat-producing UV lighting. LED lights require minimal power, can often be used with your phone, and don’t require any warming up period.
However, as with anything else, there are risks involved, even if they are minor. Reported risks may include mild tooth and gum irritation. This will depend on the sensitivity of your teeth and gums, the concentration of the bleach solution, the duration of the treatment, and any additional non-bleach components in the product. The sensitivity can last several days.
What if I Have Sensitive Teeth?
If you have sensitive teeth or gums, look for an LED teeth whitening kit that has been designed for sensitive teeth and gums. This will be the best LED teeth whitening kit for you. They contain a weaker bleach solution that you will find gentler for your needs.
In general, always follow the manufacturer’s directions and don’t follow the “more is better” mantra. Damage can result from overuse, so follow the product instructions, and you’ll soon get the results you want.
Is LED Teeth Whitening Permanent?
Unfortunately, no teeth whitening procedure is permanent, whether you have it done in a dental office or you use an at-home LED teeth whitening kit, and will need to be repeated periodically. Teeth whitening can last from a few months to up to three years, depending on the individual and their diet (see Foods and drinks to avoid in excess above.)
There are many factors that can affect your results, including the following:
- type of staining
- continuing to drink coffee, tea, soda, or wine
- poor oral health care
- not drinking enough water
- skipping dental cleanings
It is also worth noting that teeth whitening, with or without LED lighting, doesn’t work on fillings, crowns, veneers, or dentures.
Who Should Not Use Teeth Whitening Products?
- Pregnant or nursing mothers
- People with existing gum disease, thin tooth enamel, or infections
- Children under 16, whose teeth and roots are still developing
Some LED teeth whitening kits contain additional ingredients to help get rid of the stains and enhance the overall health of your teeth and gums. For example, activated charcoal is well known to have natural absorbing properties that can remove toxins from your body, including your mouth. The abrasive quality of activated charcoal powder may help to remove stains, too, although there is a concern that if overused, it can wear down the tooth’s enamel.
Coconut oil is another natural ingredient that is sometimes added to teeth whitening products due to its well-known antibacterial properties. It may not help whiten your teeth directly, but it will help with the overall health of your teeth and gums.
Follow the instructions that come with your LED teeth whitening kit and notice when your teeth begin to lose some of their whiteness. You can also use a teeth whitening pen that contains the same whitening gel for touch-ups between LED whitening applications.
Be sure to keep up with good dental hygiene, including regular check-ups and cleanings.
If you’re sometimes unable to brush right away after eating, be sure to rinse your mouth out with plain water. This will help dilute the acid-causing buildup that can cause damage to the tooth enamel.
So, what are you waiting for? Decide which teeth whitening kit is best for you and get started today on making your smile whiter and brighter!