Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening

 The Truth About Teeth Whitening

‘Pearly whites’ – everyone wants them for that perfect smile. There’s something lovely about beautiful white teeth, except when they’re too white. You can spot the overdone whitening a mile away. But why, if pearly whites are the goal, do super white teeth look so wrong?

For the simple reason that your teeth, even as a child, aren’t white. ‘Pearly white’ is a good description because real pearls aren’t white either. There’s a faint yellow tone under the whiteness.

Your teeth, the visible part, are made of dentin covered with enamel. It’s the dentin that gives teeth their pearl-like colouration. Enamel is transparent. If you have dark dentin then no amount of whitening will change that.

As you can’t go through life not eating or drinking, your teeth will become stained.

10 Things that will stain your teeth

  • Coffee and Tea
  • Cola
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Berries
  • Red Wine
  • Fruit juices
  • Curry
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Soy Sauce
  • Beetroot

 6 Non-food or drink related things that will stain your teeth

  • Smoking
  • Medications such as tetracycline and doxycycline antibiotics cause staining when the teeth are forming as a child. Antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs, antihypertensive medications also cause staining.
  • Mouth rinses and washes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride cause surface staining
  • Age – Over the years your tooth enamel is worn away and darkens. This means that the tooth’s translucency is increased.
  • Fluoride -high levels of fluoride in the water or fluoride applications, rinses, and toothpaste can cause fluorosis - white spots on teeth.
  • Trauma – An injury to the mouth can disturb the formation of enamel in young children. In adults, an injury which decreases the flow of blood to the tooth or causes the nerve to die will result in darkened teeth.

How do you get your ‘pearly whites’ pearly white again?

Do over-the-counter or home remedy treatments work?

While brushing is essential for removing plaque and preventing cavities, not to mention keeping away gum disease and keeping your breath minty fresh; any lightening effect it may have will be minimal as it only affects the surface. Toothpaste, for example, targets the surface of your teeth.  Whitening toothpastes often have the chemical blue covarine inside. Blue covarine deposits a thin, semi-transparent film of bluish pigment on the dental surface which alters the way light reflects off your teeth making them look whiter and brighter. What’s more concerning are the abrasives that whitening toothpaste also has in its make-up.

Whitening strips are tricky to use so the results won’t be even.

Home remedies such as activated charcoal, oil pulling, baking soda, and strawberries are not scientifically proven to whiten teeth. Always discuss a home remedy’s efficacy and safety with your dentist before trying them, or you could damage your teeth irreparably.

The best option for whitening your teeth is your dentist. The method they choose is based on:

  • your age (pertains to children)
  • your dental history, including fillings and crowns
  • the type of discoloration
  • the cost involved in the treatment


If you’re looking for a whiter smile and healthy pearly whites,


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