Teeth whitening is a variety of treatments used to remove stains (often from bad oral hygiene) and making teeth look whiter. They work quickly to remove yellowing plaque and tartar, producing results in as little as a day. Teeth whitening is generally safe, as long as it’s done in excess. Teeth whitening can remove years of coffee and wine stains from the teeth, leading to a brighter smile (1).
Whitening can increase confidence, making you more likely to smile and engage with other people. Whitening products also improve first impressions, making you seem more engaging and friendlier. This can improve the chances of getting hired after an interview, as people who smile are more likely to get jobs.
Powerful tooth whitening treatments, such as laser whitening, can penetrate beneath the enamel, removing years of coffee stains in as little as 60 minutes.
There are a few major side effects associated with teeth whitening. Some people may experience tooth sensitivity and pain, making it difficult to eat or drink (2).
These symptoms tend to go away quickly, and can often be treated with pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Although safe when used in moderation, teeth whitening can damage tooth enamel if used every day for long periods. This can speed tooth decay, as well as increase the risk of developing cavities.
1Teeth whitening can whiten your smile and make you look younger. Many anti-aging procedures are expensive and painful and can have serious side effects. Teeth whitening is one of the most effective anti-aging treatments available, and it has few side effects.
Studies have shown that smiling more makes other people think you look younger. People tend to smile much more when their teeth are white, so teeth whitening can make people believe you are younger (3).
2Teeth whitening can improve oral health. People who have had their teeth whitened tend to pay more attention to their oral health. They are more likely to brush their teeth, avoid sugary foods, and stay away from acidic drinks that corrode the enamel.
Even though teeth whitening does not directly cause improved oral hygiene, people tend to spend more time taking care of their teeth in order to prevent yellowing. A 2018 study showed that people who received whitening treatment were significantly less likely to have oral health problems (4).
People with better oral health tend to have improved mood and more mental energy, indicating that there could be a link between oral health and cognitive function.
3Teeth whitening lightens stained teen quickly. Teeth whitening works fairly quickly, allowing you to remove stains and change the color of yellow teeth in just a few days.
Laser whitening can remove years worth of stains in just one treatment that lasts around 60 minutes. Over the counter whitening strips and gels, although not quite as effective, can noticeably whiten teeth in 3 days.
Whitening toothpaste takes a bit longer to work, and they cannot remove as many stains as other products. However, most whitening toothpaste can noticeably brighten teeth in around a week.
4Teeth whitening makes teeth look bigger. If you have small teeth, whitening can help them stand out and seem larger. Teeth whitening may also make your teeth look straighter, improving your smile without any expensive orthodontic devices.
5Teeth whitening can boost confidence. Yellow teeth can make people embarrassed to smile and laugh. This can have an impact on confidence and self-esteem, and also affect socialization, as people are less likely to engage in conversations and may try to hide their mouth.
Teeth whitening is an effective way to remove stains quickly, making you feel more confident when you smile (5). People who smile more are considered more outgoing, friendlier, and more approachable.
6Teeth whitening improves first impressions. A person’s smile is one of the most important parts of a first impression. People with stained teeth are more likely to hide their smile and may be hesitant to laugh. This can make them seem withdrawn and less engaged.
Teeth whitening can help make a better first impression. Whiter smiles are more noticeable, and people with white teeth are also more likely to smile. This makes people think that you are friendly, and also makes you seem more engaged in conversation.
7Teeth whitening can help you get hired. Studies have shown that smiling during interviews is associated with getting hired. People who don’t smile while interviewing are seen as less engaged, less friendly, and less interested in the position.
Teeth whitening can help you make a better first impression when looking for a job. It can also improve performance at your current job by making it easier to engage with coworkers.
8Teeth whitening can have fluoride which can protect tooth enamel. The enamel is the outer layer of the teeth, protecting them from plaque and bacteria. Over time, small holes begin to appear in the enamel, which allows stains to form on teeth. Fluoride can help keep enamel strong, preventing staining. It speeds up remineralization of the enamel, keeping holes from forming (6).
This can keep teeth white for longer, making whitening treatments more effective. Teeth whitening removes a small amount of the outer layer of enamel. Fluoride can help this enamel grow back more quickly, keeping teeth healthy throughout after whitening treatments.
9Laser teeth whitening can remove years of stain in one session. Laser whitening is one of the most effective ways of removing deep stains and brightening teeth. It’s also much faster than other whitening options and can whiten teeth in just one 30 minute session.
It also penetrates below the enamel, allowing you to get rid of year old stains that are too deep for over the counter whitening products. This helps the whitening results last longer as well. Laser whitening is gentler on the gums that gels and strips, and is less likely to cause dry mouth. If you have sensitive gums, it may be a safer option than over the counter whitening products.
10Laser teeth whitening requires a lot less time spent whitening. Most teeth whitening treatments will require follow up treatments to maintain color and remove surface stains. Without these treatments, teeth will quickly yellow as stains penetrate the surface of the enamel.
Laser whitening reaches below the enamel, helping remove old stains that can quickly discolor teeth. This makes laser whitening last longer, and also means that it requires fewer touch-up treatments to keep teeth white.
11Teeth whitening strips are the most affordable way to remove stains. Whitening strips cannot remove as many stains as more expensive laser treatments. However, they are still an effective way of quickly brightening a yellow smile and getting rid of surface stains. They are also one of the most affordable ways of getting whiter teeth.
Over the counter whitening products tend to cost about a tenth as much as one laser whitening treatment. They are also the most convenient way of removing stains, as you don’t have to visit your dentist’s office or go to a laser whitening center.
12Teeth whitening toothpaste can get rid of surface stains. Teeth whitening toothpaste is an excellent way of removing spot stains and keeping teeth from yellowing after whitening treatments. They cannot remove deep stains but are a safe way of maintaining teeth color.
Since teeth whitening toothpaste does not normally contain carbamide peroxide (the active ingredient in whitening strips) they are gentler on the gums, and less likely to cause dry mouth. They also put less stress on the enamel, making them safer for people who have cavities.
1Teeth whitening products can cause nerve sensitivity, especially if the products are used frequently. This nerve pain is temporary, but it can make eating and drinking painful for a day or two (7).
2Laser teeth whitening treatments are significantly more likely to cause nerve pain and sensitivity than over the counter strips or gels. Pain from teeth whitening can be reduced by using pain medications such as acetaminophen or Tylenol.
3Excess use of whitening products can lead to damage to the enamel. Teeth whiteners work by removing a small amount of the enamel, where stains are found. When used in moderation, the amount of enamel that is removed by teeth whitening is minimal and does not pose a risk to dental health.
However, if you use teeth whitening products too frequently, you can strip away excess amounts of enamel. This can increase the risk of tooth decay, as well as cavities.
4Teeth whitening can also be painful if you have any cavities and can worsen tooth decay. They can also cause dry mouth and gum irritation.
5There is no longterm research available for teeth whitening, especially charcoal products. Activated charcoal whiteners have recently been promoted as a healthier natural alternative to standard treatments. However, there is little research on the efficacy of activated charcoal for whitening teeth.
There are many different teeth whitening products, each with its own instructions. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to achieve the best results.
When using whitening strips, don’t exceed the recommended wear time. This can cause nerve pain, and it can also lead to enamel damage if done long term. Don’t drink any fluids while whitening teeth, and avoid eating for at least half an hour after you are done with the treatment.
Try to avoid drinks that stain teeth, such as coffee and red wine, for a few hours after whitening. For the best results, stay away from these drinks throughout the course of your whitening treatment (8).
Whitening products such as gels and strips should not be used every day. They should be used for a short treatment period, and then only be used for occasional maintenance treatments afterward.
After teeth whitening, you should use an occasional touch-up treatment to prevent yellowing. This can be done once every few weeks. You can also use whitening toothpaste, which is effective for removing shallow surface stains.
Dental products containing fluoride may also be useful after whitening treatments, as they can help restore the enamel, sealing small holes that stains can get into.
Is teeth whitening safe? Yes, teeth whitening is safe, as long as you do not use whitening products too frequently. Whitening removes a small amount of enamel to get rid of stains. This is safe if not done too often. However, frequent teeth whitening can cause damage to the enamel.
There is also little research on the long term impact of teeth whitening. Although dentists believe that whitening products are likely safe, more studies are needed on how teeth whitening affects dental health over the years.
Can teeth whitening be done every day? Yes, although it is not recommended. Consistent teeth whitening is important if you want to maintain the color of your teeth after treatment. However, this does not require that you whiten your teeth every day.
Excessive teeth whitening can damage your enamel by stripping too much off at once. Take time between maintenance treatments so that your enamel has time to regrow. If you want to whiten every day, use a gentle product, such as a whitening toothpaste.
Can all teeth be whitened? Also, whitening procedures will not work on exposed tooth roots because roots do not have an enamel layer. Tooth-colored fillings and resin composite materials used in dental restorations (crowns, veneers, bonding, bridges) do not whiten.
Does charcoal toothpaste really whiten teeth? Activated charcoal’s claim to fame is that it can absorb chemicals; however, it’s unclear if the toothpaste absorbs stains from the teeth’s enamel or if it just scrubs the teeth’s surface.
Are teeth whitening strips effective? Yes, many over the counter teeth whitening treatments are effective and can show results quickly.
However, over the counter teeth whitening strips will not be as powerful as treatments done at a dentist’s office. The results may also not last as long, so you’ll have to use maintenance treatments more frequently.
Whitening strips also can’t penetrate below the enamel, where many years old stains are found. This makes them less effective than treatment options such as laser whitening, which can reach beneath the enamel.
Is laser teeth whitening bad? Done too often, it can be harmful. Laser teeth whitening may be an option available at your dental office, but the treatment is not for everyone. Product safety and efficacy is paramount for a good result with little to no side effects. Tooth whitening or bleaching is the most cost-effective and least invasive procedure that can improve your smile.
Can teeth whitening strips be used with whitening toothpaste? Yes, there is little risk to using whitening strips with a whitening toothpaste. However, whitening toothpaste can make side effects of treatment worse, including tooth pain and sensitivity.
If you have sensitive teeth, you should switch to a non-whitening toothpaste as you use whitening strips. You should also consider spacing out treatments, giving your teeth more time to recover.
Does baking soda really work for teeth whitening? Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is composed of a chemical compound that makes it a great mild abrasive. It is this same abrasiveness that effectively removes surface stains from your teeth and makes them appear whiter.
Does teeth whitening toothpaste significantly affect the color of teeth? Although whitening toothpaste can be useful for removing some surface stains, they are not effective if you want to significantly alter the color of your teeth. They contain a fraction of the whitening ingredients found in more powerful products.
Since you only brush your teeth a few minutes every day, the whitening ingredients don’t spend much time in contact with the surface of your teeth.
How long will teeth whitening results last? How long results last will vary widely depending on the type of whitening treatment, as well as your dental hygiene habits. Most treatments can whiten teeth for up to a few months without any maintenance treatments. Professional laser whitening will give you better results, and they should last even longer, often up to a year. You can keep teeth white for longer by using a teeth whitening toothpaste, as well using occasional follow-up treatments to remove stains. Lowering consumption of coffee and red wine can also help prevent teeth yellowing.
Will teeth whitening damage enamel? No, unless done excessively. Teeth whitening removes a small layer of the outer enamel, helping get rid of stains. If you let your teeth recover after whitening, this enamel will regrow, so there is little risk of long term damage.
However, excessive whitening can lead to significant enamel erosion. Frequent whitening can also prevent the enamel from regrowing, increasing the risk of cavities and tooth decay.
How expensive is laser teeth whitening? Laser teeth whitening is significantly more expensive than most over the counter whitening products. However, prices have dropped, making it increasingly affordable. Most laser whitening treatments will cost at least $1000, with the price increasing if you have severely discolored teeth. Whitening often requires multiple treatments, so the cost usually exceeds $2000.
Can yellow teeth become white with teeth whitening? Even with regular brushing and flossing, it can be hard to avoid the gradual graying the teeth undergo. Likewise, if you have poor oral health habits, your teeth can rapidly turn yellow, brown, or even black. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get your teeth white again by whitening.
Is bleaching your teeth bad for teeth whitening? When used as directed, research studies have concluded that peroxide-containing whitening products are completely safe for tooth enamel.
Are yellow teeth genetic? It also may be possible that you inherited enamel that is more yellow than that of other people whose genes differ. If you notice your teeth are more yellow than you’d like, you can fix the issue by using any number of teeth whitening options.
How long does it take to whiten teeth? When used twice a day, whitening toothpaste can take from two to six weeks to make teeth appear whiter.
Is charcoal powder bad for your teeth? Activated charcoal is safe to ingest. However, the abrasiveness of the mineral can damage the enamel of your teeth if it’s scrubbed against them.
Does coconut oil whiten teeth? Oil pulling requires you to use a teaspoon or so of an edible oil (usually coconut) to swish around the mouth as a way to care for your teeth. Some claim that coconut oil offers benefits like healthier gums, plaque removal, and even whiter teeth.
Is teeth whitening with bleaching permanent? Teeth whitening isn’t permanent. It can last from a few months to up to 3 years – it varies from person to person. The whitening effect won’t last as long if you smoke or drink red wine, tea, or coffee, which can all stain your teeth.
Why are my teeth yellow all of a sudden? The most easily repaired cause of yellowing teeth is poor oral hygiene: That’s because when plaque (a film of bacteria that forms on teeth) and tarter (hardened dental plaque) build up, they can make teeth appear yellow.
Teeth whitening is an effective and safe way of removing stains and changing the color of yellow teeth. When done in moderation, teeth whitening has few major side effects, aside from temporary tooth pain and sensitivity.
Teeth whitening can increase confidence, making you feel more sociable (9).
It can also improve first impressions, and give a boost to your professional career. Research has indicated that people are more likely to hire someone who smiles more. Studies have shown that teeth whitening is associated with better oral health (10).
After whitening, people are more likely to take care of their teeth to prevent yellowing.
Powerful treatments such as laser whitening can remove year old stains that cannot be reached by standard whitening products. This also helps keep teeth whiter for longer, and require fewer maintenance treatments to maintain teeth color.
There are few major side effects from teeth whitening, and it’s safe as long as done in reasonable amounts. Many teeth whitening products can cause nerve sensitivity in the days after treatment, making it painful to eat and drink. Teeth may also be sensitive to hot or cold food and drinks.