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20 October 2021

With the festive season just around the corner, we all want to look and feel our best, especially after the last couple of years! Having whiter teeth is one of those things that many people pine after. But how should you whiten your teeth, when should you whiten your teeth, and who should whiten your teeth?

People can make mistakes when whitening their teeth, after all, we don’t want to look like Ross from Friends and have that terrifying beaming smile so what should we do? Before we get into the how, when and by who what is teeth whitening and is it safe to whiten your teeth?

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening involves bleaching your teeth to make them lighter. It can't make your teeth brilliant white, but it can lighten the existing colour by several shades.

Who can whiten my teeth?

This procedure should only be carried out by a dentist or another dental professional. Including a dental hygienist or dental therapist, on the prescription of a dentist.

Some beauty salons offer teeth whitening. This is illegal if there's no dental professional present, and it may put your oral health at risk.

You can also buy DIY home teeth whitening kits, but these may also carry risks.

There are two distinct types of teeth whitening processes, one is a whitening tray technique the other is laser teeth whitening.

Whitening Tray teeth whitening

The process will not just happen overnight, it will take multiple trips to the dentist in order to get your teeth whitened.

Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth to make a mouthguard and tell you how to use it with a bleaching gel. Then, using your mouthguard at home, you regularly apply the gel for a specified period of time over 2 to 4 weeks.

teeth whitening tray image

Laser teeth whitening

Laser whitening, also known as power whitening, is another type of teeth whitening system that a dentist can provide. A bleaching product is painted onto your teeth, then a light or laser is shone to activate. Laser whitening takes about an hour.

Laser teeth whitening is a safe and effective procedure. It is unlikely to cause serious side effects but can cause temporary discomfort. Tooth sensitivity and minor gum irritation are the most common side effects. They are typically mild and short-lasting but can be severe in some people.

Laser teeth whitening can last six months to two years.

DIY Teeth Whitening Kits

While we only recommend a professional carrying this procedure, there are kits available to whiten your teeth at home. But be aware that home kits only contain a 0.1% amount of hydrogen peroxide. Under EU regulations vs a professional dentist who uses 6% of hydrogen peroxide in teeth whitening procedures so you will never get the same result as you will get at the dentist.

Home kits have a much lower % amount of hydrogen peroxide in the kit. This is because of a risk of damaging or burning your gums or mouth.

There are several sites out there that on first appearance seem to be a UK based retailer who sells whitening products that are available in the US. These kits aren't approved for sale in the UK as they contain well over the legal limit of hydrogen peroxide. However, these sites are selling counterfeit products that are not genuine products.

at home teeth whitening

After having your teeth whitened...

After you have had your teeth whitened you will need to avoid foods that can re-stain or irritate your teeth for 24-72 hours.

Foods and drinks to avoid include:

· Dark or strongly coloured liquids: for instance, tea, coffee, red wine, cola, and tomato juice.

· Acidic beverages: examples are soft drinks, fruit juices, and alcohol in general.

· Foods with natural or added colourants: beef, soy sauce, ketchup, bologna, and chocolate are examples.

· Sugary foods: cakes, cookies, ice cream, etc., can trigger decay-causing bacteria, causing tooth irritation and possible staining.

  • For any item that fails the “white shirt test:” it’s best to avoid any food that would leave a visible stain on a white piece of clothing for the first 24 hours after whitening.

Things to eat while you heal:

· Skinless turkey or chicken: remove any portions of fat or have the preparer do so.

· Whitefish: avoid strong spices or coloured sauces.

· White rice, pasta, or bread: eat these in limited amounts, as excess carb consumption can promote cavities.

· Egg whites: ditch the yokes.

· White cheeses: Lower-fat versions are better.

· Peeled potatoes: mashed, boiled, or sliced, however, you like them.

· Cauliflower or white onions.

· Skimmed or low-fat milk.

Although we do not offer this service at our clinic, there are many clinics in the UK that will provide a tooth whitening service near you. We encourage all readers to not buy kits off the internet as these could be counterfeit and will damage your teeth and gums, and above all, if you have any questions please get in contact with your local dentist who will give you advice on how to whiten your teeth safely.

For a list of services we provide click here

To find your nearest teeth whitening dentist click here