How Often Should I Whiten My Teeth?

Sometimes, a seemingly simple question can have a pretty complicated answer. So it goes for the question posed in the title. How often you should whiten your teeth depends, among other things, on:

  • Your oral health
  • How white you want your teeth to be
  • The type of whitening product you’re using

We’ll dip our toes into all of the above topics as we try to answer this complex question:

 

The Different Ways You Can Whiten Your Teeth

Teeth whitening can generally be divided into two categories, as per the CDA. They are:

  • Surface whiteners (abrasives)
  • Bleaches

 

The first category, surface whiteners, contain abrasives that are already present in most toothpastes – just in higher quantities. They’re called surface whiteners because they’re particularly effective at removing surface stains. 

 

Bleaches, on the other hand, can bleach the whole tooth – not just the surface. That makes them particularly good at a couple of things. First, they tend to whiten teeth much more rapidly than surface whiteners. Second, they can whiten teeth that aren’t just discoloured on the surface.

 

How Often Should I Use Each Type Of Whitener?

Surface whiteners are relatively safe, and you can more or less use whitening toothpastes as your regular toothpaste. That doesn’t, however, mean they don’t come with risks. When your tooth’s enamel (the hard part of the tooth that’s visible to the naked eye) is worn, abrasives can contribute to even faster wear. 

 

When enamel is worn down, the tissue below the enamel (called dentin) begins to show through. Dentin is a yellow-brown colour, and that means your teeth will start to look – well, yellow. In other words, surface whiteners can actually make your teeth look more yellow!

 

Bleach, on the other hand, is quite effective at teeth whitening – that is, if you don’t have stains on your teeth that come out the wrong colour after bleaching. You can get bleaching done in the dentist’s office. When you do, you don’t need to worry about frequency of use – your dentist will handle that for you.

 

The manufacturers of over-the-counter bleaches generally recommend you use them over the course of 14 days. There’s a reason for this recommendation – overuse can lead to enamel damage.

 

How Do I Know For Sure?

No matter what type of teeth whitening you’re looking to pursue, you should talk to your dentist. They can go over the risks of each type of whitening with you. Remember, your own unique oral health will affect which whitening products you should use, and how often. Some whitening products won’t even be effective for some types of discolouration. Other times, your enamel may be too thin to sustain ongoing whitening efforts.

 

Looking for a Winnipeg teeth whitening dentist? Get in touch with us. We can do whitening for you in-house. That means a full consultation in which we’ll determine what shade of teeth might look best with your complexion, usual makeup, and other factors. From there, we can help you find over-the-counter products that work for you, or, for more accurate whitening, whiten your teeth in-house!