How tooth whitening works?

It’s very tempting to buy a tube of toothpaste with the word ‘whitening’ on the label. We all want whiter teeth! The problem is that after trying these toothpastes that promise so much, we find no change to the colour of our teeth. I will try to cover why they don’t work and the real way to get lighter and brighter teeth.


There are two types of staining. Extrinsic stains are formed on the outer surface of the teeth and most commonly caused by foods such red wine, berries, green or black tea, and by smoking. Whitening toothpastes can more abrasive than regular toothpastes and can help reduce these types of stains. The trouble with using a more abrasive toothpaste long term is that you begin to wear your teeth away. These stains are safely and easily removed at your regular hygiene appointment, hence why we don’t recommend using whitening toothpastes.

Intrinsic staining is the other type of stain that comes from within the tooth itself. Sadly, this happens naturally as we get older. The only way to whiten teeth with intrinsic staining is to use a specific bleach for our teeth. The bleach has special molecules called ‘oxygen radicals’ that can penetrate into the tooth and break down stains inside the enamel. This type of treatment has been around for many years and has very few side effects.


If you’re interested in whitening your teeth, feel free to discuss the process and costs involved at your next dental appointment with us, or contact us on 07 5444 6166

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Daniel Tarasuik BOH


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