Have you recently taken a picture of yourself and noticed your pearly whites losing their lustre? Although teeth discolouration is a common problem in the dental world, it is in the most part considered a cosmetic problem. However, the effects of a yellow smile can be far-reaching, leading to a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. It is, therefore, no surprise that Australians alone spend about $ 10 Billion on dental care per annum.

Teeth generally darken as a result of staining of the tooth surface and/or changes in the tooth enamel and dentine composition. Teeth discolouration can be caused by many reasons including, stain-causing food and drink choices, poor oral hygiene, advanced age and drug use. Dentists categories discolouration into extrinsic, intrinsic and age-related, depending on the cause. Here is a breakdown of some common teeth whitening solutions.

Power Bleaching

Most dental clinics now offer whitening options for patients wishing to have a brighter smile. This is a professional in-office teeth bleaching procedure that is performed by a local oral surgeon involving the use of carbamide peroxide, urea, an activating light and a rubber or tissue dam to protect the gums. It targets the teeth's colour in a chemical reaction that breaks down the carbamide peroxide into hydrogen peroxide.

Power bleaching is synonymous with intrinsic discolouration and produces immediate results, meaning your teeth get brighter before you get off the dentist chair. That said, a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide can be harmful to the gums and great care should be observed by your practitioner to avoid injury.

Whitening Toothpaste

One of the most affordable teeth whitening solutions is whitening toothpaste. Everybody uses toothpaste daily, making it the easiest way to incorporate teeth whitening into your everyday routine. In a world filled with foods drinks and drugs that readily stain your teeth, there is no better way than fighting back by brushing your teeth daily using these products.

While whitening toothpaste is the most readily available and cost-effective way to brighten your smile, it is important to manage your expectations of the results. Whitening toothpaste does not bleach the enamel. It gets rid of stains stuck on the surface of your teeth, giving them a natural radiant appearance.  

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal, not to be confused with barbequing charcoal, is a fine black powdered substance made from natural substances such as peat, burnt wood, olive pits and coconut shells. This charcoal is activated when oxidised under high heat. Mix the activated charcoal with water to form a thick paste. Use the paste on a toothbrush to scrub onto your teeth.

Although many people swear by this teeth whitening solution — so much so that many dental products, including toothpaste and mouthwashes, have included it in their products, there is no research as yet to back this activated charcoal as a teeth whitening solution.

For more information, contact a dentist in your area.