A dentist has revealed everything you need to know about teeth whitening – and her top tricks to help you get a perfect smile.
Dr Madeleine Duff from Toorak Fine Dentistry in Melbourne said there are countless ways to get whiter teeth – whether you visit a dentist and have it done in the chair, get moulds made to fit your teeth or buy products off the internet or from chemists – and they all have varying effects.
So what do you need to know?
A dentist has revealed everything you need to know about teeth whitening – and her top tricks to help you get a perfect smile (Dr Madeleine Duff pictured right with Hugh Jackman)
First and foremost, the dentist said the best way to get whiter teeth is to always go to a dentist.
Dr Duff (pictured) said the best way to get whiter teeth is to get it done professionally, whether in the chair or by getting whitening moulds made
‘When you have whitening done professionally, it’s different to the whitening products you buy yourself,’ Dr Duff told the Adore Beauty podcast Beauty IQ.
‘It’s actually quite a strong chemical-based reaction so the idea is that it’s either a hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.’
Dr Duff said that professional whitening oxidises the yellow and staining inside your teeth and brings them to the surface, so your teeth are whitened from the ‘inside out’.
‘It’s a chemical process and a chemical reaction,’ she said.
Another way to successfully whiten your teeth is to get moulds made at the dentist, and then just fill them with the whitening gel at home.
‘The key with this is moderation,’ Dr Duff said.
‘Rather than leaving the moulds in your mouth for an extended period of time, simply leave them in for up to two hours consecutively over a couple of days.
‘By the time two hours is up, the chemical reaction is over and they won’t be doing much anyway. Do it for less time but more frequently for the best results.’
The final way to whiten your teeth is by buying at-home kits, and while these aren’t as effective, they can help to reduce surface stains (stock image)
What are the top tips for whiter teeth?
1. Limit coffee, red wine and tea.
2. If you are drinking these staining agents, try to drink them where possible through a straw.
3. Get a regular professional clean to reduce the buildup of tartar, which can make staining agents stick to your teeth more.
4. Limit acidic fruits like lemon water and the like, which can erode your teeth.
5. Remember that tomato-based pasta sauces can stain your teeth, as canned tomatoes are far more acidic than regular tomatoes.
6. Limit foods like popcorn and ice, which are crunchy and can place great strains on your teeth and increase the risk of fracture.
7. Be wary of charcoal toothpastes, which can just be sandy and strip the enamel of the teeth.
The final way to whiten your teeth is by buying at-home kits, either from the chemist, supermarket or internet.
While these will not be as effective as a professional job, Dr Duff said they can help a little.
‘They aren’t anywhere near as high of a concentration of whitening so won’t work as well,’ she said.
But they can give a whiter smile temporarily on a superficial level.
‘If you have sensitive teeth, you might also want to be careful around charcoal whitening toothpastes,’ Dr Duff said.
‘A lot of these are just abrasive and sandy. They might lift surface stains, but they also wear away your enamel.’
Instead, she recommends getting your teeth whitened in the chair or getting moulds made to your mouth.
If you want to look after your smile at home, Dr Duff recommends you limit red wine, coffee and tea as much as possible – and if you are going to drink them, consider doing so through a straw.
‘I drink red wine through a straw,’ she said.
You should be especially careful after you have whitened your teeth, as teeth become more porous after whitening.
She also said you should make sure to get a professional clean regularly to ensure you don’t get a buildup of hard yellow minerals on your teeth.
‘This is called tartar, and it can give the appearance of staining,’ she said.
Coffee, red wine and tea can then sink into this even more.
How do you prevent alcohol and soft drinks from ruining your teeth?
The lower the pH of a drink, the more chance there is of your teeth eroding.
The pH of water is about 7 and the pH of stomach acid is about 2.
Tooth enamel can start to dissolve at around pH 5.5.
Coca Cola: 2.7
Orange Juice: 3.4
Sparkling Mineral Water: 3.7
Wine: 2.3 – 3.8
Beer: 4.0 – 5.0
Black coffee: 2.4 – 3.3
Cranberry Juice: 2.3 – 2.5
How to reduce the chances of enamel damage:
– Load your glass with ice cubes to increase the water content
– Consume water straight after drinking
– Chew healthy hard foods that stimulate saliva like nuts, carrots and celery
– Chew sugar-free gum
– Wait 30 minutes before brushing
– Apply a toothpaste-like cream containing CPP-ACP like Tooth Mousse before sleep
Dr Lewis (pictured) revealed how you can prevent alcohol and soft drinks from ruining your teeth
What are the three different types of teeth whitening?
1. In-surgery whitening: A professional dentist will use whitening and bleaching to whiten your teeth from the inside out with a strong chemical base.
2. At-home mould whitening: A dentist will fit moulds to your teeth and send you home with instructions to wear the moulds and apply gel over a period of time. The moulds can be re-used.
3. Purchased gels and strips: You can buy gels and whitening strips on chemists, online and even in the supermarkets, but these won’t be as high a quantity of whitening agent.
Previously, FEMAIL revealed the surprising foods that are ruining your teeth – including citrus fruits, pasta and popcorn.
Dr Peter Chuang from the Australian Dental Association Oral Health Committee said things like lemon-infused water contain high levels of citric avid, which can lead to an increased risk of enamel erosion and teeth sensitivity.
Meanwhile, pasta laced with Napoli or any tomato-based sauce is also a bad shout, as canned tomatoes are far more acidic than regular tomatoes and so can damage your teeth.
Dr Chuang also said that foods like popcorn and even ice can damage your teeth, as crunchy foods ‘also place great strains on your teeth, increasing the risk of fracture’.
‘A special mention goes to candied varieties like caramel popcorn – coated in hard, sticky sugars,’ Dr Chuang said.
You also need to be careful around pickled foods, including olives, which are addictive but also acidic, so can be bad for the teeth.
To find out more about Dr Madeleine Duff, please visit Toorak Fine Dentistry here.