Teeth Whitening 101

get white teeth

From dieting and working out to plastic surgery, one thing is clear: our society is obsessed with looks. One thing in particular that we are obsessed with is our teeth. Whether it’s getting orthodontic treatment to have straight teeth or whitening your teeth, having shiny white teeth is something many people covet. Read on to learn more about your teeth whitening options, including how often you should be whitening your teeth.

Why Teeth Yellow in the First Place

This is an important concept to understand, especially so you can avoid having to do multiple treatments to maintain a white smile. Your teeth get yellow for a number of reasons, which include:

  • Tobacco use—Tar and nicotine, two chemicals in found in tobacco, cause yellowing of the teeth
  • Food and drink—Certain foods and beverages, like wine and coffee, cause staining of the teeth
  • Age—Enamel thins as you age, which results in stains and yellowing to appear more present

In some cases, trauma or medications can cause your teeth to yellow, too. Fortunately, because we’re so obsessed with white teeth, there is a wide market of whitening options available.

Whitening Options

There are a wide variety of whitening options available to you, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. If you’re concerned about what option is best for you and your teeth, talk to your dentist. Learn more about different whitening options, and how often you can you use them, in this section.

In-office Whitening

Your dentist may offer in-office whitening treatments. Although this is usually the most expensive option, it’s definitely the most effective. And, because it’s in a supervised environment, it’s safer for you. Most people see results after their first session. It’s up to your dentist to decide how many sessions you’ll need and how often you should come.

At-home Whitening Trays

If you’re looking to get in-office results from the comfort of your home, this option is good for you. You use a molded mouth tray with peroxide-based gel. This type of treatment can be used up to every day for up to four weeks, but most people experience sensitivity, so they use it every other day.

Over-the-counter Whitening Strips

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance way to whiten your teeth, this is a good option for you. Most whitening strips are affordable and easy to use. What’s more? Most brands offer slip-free strips so you can carry on your day-to-day activities while still whitening your teeth. Make sure to read the label of the white strips you choose to learn how often you can use whitening strips.

Whitening Mouthwash

Many toothpaste brands offer whitening rinses as well. These rinses can be used daily and can help you achieve shiny white teeth. With this option, though, know that it will take a while before you see results. If this is the only whitening agent you plan to use, be prepared to wait up to 12 weeks before you start seeing results.

Whitening Toothpaste

Many brands offer whitening toothpastes. These pastes and gels help remove surface stains from your teeth. They’re generally affordable, but it can take a few days to see results. In addition, this whitening option doesn’t really cause tooth sensitivity, so for those who want white teeth but have sensitive teeth, this would be a good option.


It’s easier than ever to get the white smile you’ve been dreaming of. Head to your local supermarket or retail store to pick up any of the over-the-counter methods discussed in this article. If you want more permanent or fast results, contact your dentist.

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