A recent survey carried out by RealSelf, found that 40% of Brits want to improve their teeth with whitening, veneers or Invisalign. With that being said, there are still many myths out there about tooth whitening.

Here, we separate fact from fiction and help you learn more about tooth whitening.

Top ten facts about tooth whitening

1. There are many factors that influence the whiteness of your teeth. Food and drinks such as tea, coffee and red wine can stain your teeth over time, as can smoking. Genetics may also influence how bright your teeth are.

2. If plaque is not removed regularly by brushing and flossing, it hardens to form calculus. Calculus (also known as tartar) can also affect the colour of your teeth.

3. Some people may have staining under the surface. This can be caused by some antibiotics or by tiny cracks in the teeth which absorb stains.

4. Regardless of your stains, the natural colour (and genetic makeup) of an individual’s teeth are set at birth. The only thing a whitening product can do is remove all the stains that have accumulated over time.

5. Professional bleaching is the most usual method of tooth whitening and can lighten your Getty from their natural shade . The ‘active ingredient’ in the product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter.

6. The effects of whitening are thought to last up to three years. However, this will vary from person-to-person. If you eat or drink strongly-coloured foods or smoke, it is possible that the whitening will not last as long, so taking care of your teeth is still important.

7. In the UK and EU, tooth whitening can only be legally performed by a dentist. Therefore, getting your teeth whitened by beauticians, or in whitening kiosks, is against the law. It could expose you to dangerous products and cause lasting damage to teeth and gums.

8. In the UK, tooth whitening products you can buy over-the-counter can only legally include 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. This concentration is too low to have any noticeable effect on the colour of the teeth.

9. Tooth whitening can only lighten your existing tooth colour and won’t be able to get rid of deep stains.

10. You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drinks you have that can stain teeth. Don’t forget, stopping smoking can also help prevent discolouration and staining.

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