Does Whitening Your Teeth Damage Them?

When thinking of brightening your teeth – one of the first questions you – and most people – will ask is “Does whitening your teeth damage them?”

Does Whitening Your Teeth Damage Them

We are living in a world where everyone is very conscious of how we look and very aware of what impression we project to people around us.

Bright TeethBy dressing well and being well groomed we convey who we are. But the most important impression is where everyone looks – at our faces. Communication is all about looking at a person and conversing. This is where the teeth are on show.

Smiling, laughing and chatting confidently is what shows your personality and engages people to share and relate well with you.

You do not want to be embarrassed or aware of the discoloration of your teeth. This makes you self-conscious – not what you want to be feeling.

This is where teeth whitening can be your savior and bring back your confidence.

Does Whitening Your Teeth Damage Them?

You can be assured that whitening your teeth at home is a very safe procedure.

Studies taken of whitening products using 10% carbamide peroxide showed positive results. There was little to no effect on the hardness or the mineral content of the enamel.

This is also true of existing fillings and restorations done to your teeth. There is no damage to fillings, bonding, crowns, veneers, and bridges. The issue is that these do not lighten. So any previous work that was done that matched your tooth shade will remain the same color.

There are many different methods you can choose. These will all achieve a lightening and brightening of your teeth. Most at-home whitening products are specially formulated for home users. They contain a safe level of whitening agents. This is to ensure that users like us do not do damage while using the products. As with any
product you use – be sure to follow the manufacturers’ directions and you should have no issues.

Just a little note at this point. The magazines and adverts we see everywhere promote beautiful white sparkling teeth on beautiful people. Bear in mind that a lot of that is not real and has been edited after the photoshoot for public consumption. This is an image that people hope to replicate and is often not realistic.

You need to be aware of what you can achieve. It all depends on the natural shade your teeth are and how discolored they have become due to bad habits

How Teeth Whitening Works

There are 2 ways to lighten your teeth:

  1. Intrinsic whitening
  2. Extrinsic Whitening

Intrinsic whitening changes the color of the inside of the tooth. Extrinsic whitening removes stains from the outside of the tooth.

Intrinsic Whitening

Did you know that bleach actually lightens the inner tissue of the tooth, not the hard, outer enamel?

Teeth yellowing is a normal part of aging. Just like grey hair, the yellow color is a sign of aging. And it is our dentin, the inner part of the tooth that yellows, not the enamel.

With time the enamel gets thinner due to use and exposure to acidic foods and drinks and the dentin gets darker. The darkening dentin color reflects through the enamel making the tooth look yellow.

Whitening teeth affected by this is achievable. The tooth must soak up a whitening gel or bleach which contains hydrogen peroxide. This gets absorbed into the tooth and whitens the dentin or inner part of the tooth.

With the inner part of the tooth whitened, the color is reflected through the outer enamel of your teeth. This makes the tooth look whiter and brighter than before.

Extrinsic Whitening

Extrinsic means external, and this is exactly what this method of whitening does. It removes the staining on the outer part of the tooth. which is your enamel.

Electric Tooth BrushStaining on your teeth is caused by residue left over from smoking and drinking tea, coffee or wine. Foods like curries and vegetables like beetroot will also leave behind stains when eaten on a regular basis.

These stains are usually removed quite easily. Get a gentle lightening system like a whitening powder or a whitening toothpaste. Or make use a good stain-removing electric toothbrush. Combine the electric toothbrush with whitening toothpaste once or twice a week. This will help maintain the brightness and eliminate any new developing discoloration.

What Results Can I Realistically Achieve?

The natural color of one’s teeth varies quite a bit between individuals.

Most people tend to naturally have a yellower hue. This does not mean they are unhealthy – it is just the natural color of the enamel. It does not mean they are any weaker or stronger than white teeth. Yellow teeth do respond well to whitening. Whereas brown teeth are a little less responsive.

Teeth with a grey or purple hue are not natural and have been caused by tetracycline and are not so easy to lighten. This may need a long period of home whitening – up to 6 months. Alternatively, you may require the services of a professional dentist for successfully lightening.

Realistic Teeth Whitening

With any type of bleaching procedure, the degree of whiteness achieved will vary from individual to individual.

The results will depend on:

  • the condition of the teeth
  • the cause of the stain
  • the concentration of bleach in the product what bleaching system you have chosen
  • the time frame of bleaching

Teeth Bleaching Side Effects

So does whitening your teeth damage them at all? And are there any side effects associated with whitening teeth?

There will be no damage to your teeth if used correctly – but a few people may experience a little discomfort.

Even though there will be no damage to the enamel, you may experience some side effects associated with tooth whitening products. Most people experience no effects at all during or after the process. But there is a possibility of some uncomfortable side effects.

These are also something to consider before deciding to go ahead with bleaching.

All whitening solutions contain chemicals. These may cause irritation for some people or cause sensitivity to the tooth in the short term.

Here are two potential side effects you may experience:

  1. Sensitivity
  2. Irritated Gums

Teeth sensitivity

You may experience some tooth sensitivity during the whitening procedure and/or afterward. The sensitivity will only last for a short period of time.

This is caused by exposure of the dentin layer during the bleaching process.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity beforehand- consult with your dentist for advice. Decide on what whitening options are best for you.

Irritated gums

When the soft tissue of your gums comes into contact with the whitening solution they may change from pink to white on contact. The discoloration will return to normal soon after you remove the whitening chemicals.

In extreme cases, inflammation and reddening of the gums will persist. This may develop into gum tissue pain and possible bleeding.

This is very extreme. It is usually caused by excessive use of the whitening agent for an extended period of time. To avoid this, always read and follow the directions on the packaging.

Can Anything Go Wrong?

Unfortunately – yes. With excessive usage on a regular basis of any teeth bleaching product you will have issues.

If you whiten your teeth too often, you may experience permanent damage. One effect may be translucence of the teeth where the edges appear to be transparent. Alternatively, a grey tinge may appear instead of the desired creamy white shade.

Overusage in the incorrect manner will do more harm than good in this instance.

What if you do not appear to be achieving any change in the condition of your teeth after a whitening session?

It is advisable to speak to your dentist. Find out why they did not lighten and what the best course of action may be. Differing types of discoloration can be more difficult to remove than others. You may require veneers or other methods to improve their appearance.

In Conclusion - Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Yes, teeth whitening is safe and can be used safely, if used correctly.

You can choose to use:

  • professional in-office whitening at your dentist
  • a professional take-home whitening kit
  • or an over-the-counter tooth whitening option

There also many different methods in which you can choose to whiten teeth. Gels, powders, strips, and trays to name a few.

Choosing which suits you best is a personal choice depending on the following:

  • how much you want to lighten your teeth
  • how badly stained and discolored your teeth are
  • what method you feel comfortable using

Many people will aim for the brightest smile possible. But remember, whiter teeth don’t mean healthier teeth.

On the other hand, if you are not happy with the color, there is nothing wrong with trying a safe teeth whitening method.

We hope you are successful in your journey towards a beautiful, bright smile.

Alta White Teeth Whitening Powder
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