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Teeth Whitening - Topic Overview

Bleaching continued...

Talk to your dentist before whitening your teeth. It does not work for everyone. Using a bleach product for:1

  • Yellowish teeth usually works well.
  • Brownish teeth will work, but not as well as for yellowish teeth.
  • Grayish-hued teeth may not work well at all.

Bleaching also may not work if you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings in your front teeth. The bleach will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out if you whiten the rest of your teeth. Always talk with your dentist before you use tooth whitening, especially if you have many fillings, crowns, or very dark stains.

Bleaching your teeth may have side effects. Teeth can become sensitive when you are using the bleaching solution, but this sensitivity usually goes away when you finish your treatment. A mouthpiece that does not fit well may hurt your gums.

Remember that whitening is not permanent. Your teeth will slowly become discolored again. Some lifestyle choices, such as drinking coffee or using tobacco, will speed up how fast your teeth lose their new whiteness.

Children and teens

Children and teens with discolored teeth may have a negative self-image that can result in unhealthy behavior. Teeth whitening may help them with their self-image.

In children and teens, stained or discolored teeth may be the result of:

  • An injury or infection.
  • Fluorosis, which is using too much fluoride. This can change the color of the teeth.
  • The antibiotic tetracycline. Using this antibiotic can result in stains on the teeth.

It is important to discuss teeth whitening with your dentist. If your child still has a mix of primary camera.gif and permanent camera.gif teeth, whitening all teeth may result in teeth being different shades of white. This is because the thickness of the tooth enamel is different in these two types of teeth. Colors may also change when the permanent teeth replace the primary teeth.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 07, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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