Teeth Whitening

Don’t we all want whiter teeth? That said, teeth whitening is an effective way to lighten the shade of your teeth to improve the brightness of your smile.

Aging brings with it all kinds of changes to the body and your teeth are no exception. Your teeth yellow slightly in shade as you age because your enamel begins to thin and show the inside of your tooth more. This slight change in colour can look more drastic in some lighting and can be exacerbated by some shades of lipstick. (To have whiter looking teeth with a bold red lipstick, choose a lipstick with a cool or blue base).

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Reasons for Discolouration

If you are out of the habit of seeing your dentist every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning, some of the discolouration you may be seeing could be surface staining. This staining can occur as a result of food, hygiene and lifestyle.

Main Causes Of Discolouration


Consuming a large number of simple sugars in the form of bread, chips and candies, for example, proliferates bacteria and acid in the mouth. This bacterium is known as plaque and when it is not cleaned often enough, the plaque (a yellowish clear film) solidifies into tartar. Tarter forms around the necks of the teeth and won’t be removed until a professional dental hygienist sees them for a scaling session. Scaling breaks away the coral-like tartar and reveals the tooth once again. A buildup of tartar is just waiting to be stained by red wines, coloured drinks, and coffee/tea.

More Causes Of Discolouration


A strong habit of brushing and flossing daily keeps the bacterium count in your mouth at a healthy level and ensures that plaque is not able to establish itself and turn into tartar. It also ensures that your gum tissue is cleansed of any potential plaque film regularly. A daily routine of brushing and flossing is the best way to ensure that your teeth stay bright between visits.


Lifestyle choices, like drinking and smoking, may have a bigger impact on your tooth shade than you realize. Acidic drinks like sodas, coffee, black teas and wine are aggressors to your enamel and usually very pigmented. While the acid is attacking your teeth, the pigments in the drinks are staining them. Over time, you may find that your teeth begin looking yellow. While age is one factor, if you are a smoker, it is more likely that the cigarette smoke is causing your staining. If you are considering whitening your teeth, you can expect staining to reoccur if you continue the habit.  If you need support to quit smoking, talk to your doctor or dentist who may be able to prescribe medication to assist you in your efforts to abstain.


Your teeth are made primarily of a substance called dentin, which is covered in a very hard layer of enamel. Your enamel is mostly transparent and provides a window into the dentin. Teeth whitening focuses on whitening the dentin while surface staining on the enamel is typically improved through professional cleaning. In order to achieve a whitening effect, dentists need to use products that will penetrate the pores of the enamel and whiten the dentin behind it.

About 40 years ago, whitening solution for the teeth was discovered by dentists who were applying peroxide-based gel to the teeth and gums of patients with periodontal disease. Peroxide was used for its effective antiseptic properties but started showing whiter teeth as a side effect of the treatment. Since then, whitening treatments have evolved in their application and delivery methods, but the active whitening agent continues to be peroxide.

See Your Dentist

If you are planning to whiten your teeth, we recommend foregoing the do-it-yourself solutions for several reasons. First, you will get better bang for your buck with your dentist who uses stronger whitening agents that are not directly available to consumers. Your dentist will ensure that your gums are protected and shielded from chemical burn (common with whitening strips) and they will offer a rehydration treatment to reduce the likelihood of tooth sensitivity after the procedure. Finally, it’s easy to book regular treatments by scheduling them alongside your check-up and cleaning appointments. Remember to protect against staining between visits by limiting potential stainers in your diet.

For questions about this or other services offered by our general dentist, contact our clinic today.

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