A gleaming, set of white teeth is a top beauty goal but not all of us have been blessed with the perfect Hollywood smile. Which is why teeth whitening is one of the most popular beauty procedures.
Whether it is done by a cosmetic dentist or achieved using one of the widely available at-home treatments, you can now get those teeth stains easily removed to reveal the pearly white smile of your dreams.
But no matter what type of tooth whitening treatment you opt for, the downside is that those brilliant results won’t last forever. We dip into the various methods on offer to answer the question – how long does teeth whitening last?
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Pure, brilliant white is not a natural color for our teeth as we all have a certain shade of white and brightness to our smile. However, over time age, diet, what we drink and lifestyle habits such as smoking as well as inadequate dental hygiene can dull and darken your teeth as well as add surface stains. Teeth whitening can help to remove these stains as well as lighten your teeth by using bleach to make them whiter. Teeth whitening won’t make your teeth brilliant white but will lighten the current color of your teeth by at least several shades for a more natural look.
How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?
There’s a wide choice of teeth whitening methods now available, and your final choice will be dependent on the level of whiteness you want to achieve, how long you are happy to wait to see a difference, convenience and, of course, your budget. And how long the final teeth whitening result will last will depend largely on the type of teeth whitening method you choose.
As there’s no such thing as permanent teeth whitening, we give you the lowdown on the main teeth whitening treatment types and how long you can typically expect each one to last.
One of the most convenient – and affordable – ways to brighten your smile, whitening toothpaste contains special abrasives which directly tackle those unsightly and stubborn surface stains to reveal your whiter teeth beneath. And the beauty is that they also work as ordinary toothpaste in that they also clean your teeth and boost your oral health.
Ingredients to look out for in whitening toothpastes include hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide (for a whitening effect) as well as mild abrasives such as silica (to remove stains).
Depending on the type of whitening toothpaste you choose, they can be used every day or just a few times a week. However, it may take between two and six weeks to see any tooth whitening results, which can then last for up to four months. Prolonged use of whitening toothpaste can extend the whitening effect, although it is possible to develop teeth sensitivity so for best long-term results alternative your whitening toothpaste with a regular toothpaste.
The easiest tooth whitening product to use, whitening mouthwash contains a small amount of the bleaching agent, hydrogen peroxide which, when used daily, will help to lift and remove some of your teeth surface staining. However, compared to other teeth whitening products, the results of whitening mouthwash are more subtle – it can take up to three months to see any improvements – and won’t be long-lasting. However, you should get all the other benefits of using a mouthwash, including added fluoride, a fresher breath and healthier gums.
For the best – and longer lasting – results, you should use your whitening mouthwash with other teeth whitening products, such as toothpaste or professional tooth whitening treatments.
One of the most effective over the counter teeth whitening treatments, whitening strips can be fiddly to use but with patience, overall the results seem worth it. Whitening strips are designed to stick straight onto your teeth and use peroxide to bleach away stains as well as whiten your teeth enamel. Some designs also use LED accelerator lights for a more professional stain removal result.
So, how long do whitening strips last? It does depend on the quality of the strips you use, but if applied correctly you can expect those pearly whites to last for up to six months.
At-home Whitening Gel Trays
Moving into professional teeth whitening territory, these custom fit gel trays can be used at home and should give you your final result within two to four weeks of consistent use. And, as they are fitted by a dentist, the results can be improved, depending on the strength of peroxide prescribed and the length of time they are worn.
The at home kit will comprise of a custom-made tray which you fill with get whitener which will be stronger than over the counter products, and them affix to your teeth. Typically, you will need to wear them daily (or overnight) for a week, or longer.
The good news for this minor inconvenience is that at home gel trays are impressively long lasting, giving you beautifully white teeth for at least a year. And users report that, with consistent oral care, some level of whitening can last for several years.
In-office Tooth Whitening
For the longest lasting whitening, a professionally applied treatment in your dentist’s office is the best way to go, with results lasting as long as one to three years. Opting for an in-office tooth whitening treatment is the most expensive way to achieve whiter teeth. However, it means you will get the highest concentration of concentrated hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, with LED lights often used to accelerate the treatment.
The treatment also absorbs deeper into the tooth’s enamel and dentin layers, dissolving stains for up to 24 hours after application for longer lasting results. And you will be able to discuss your ideal white shade with your dental expert, so you get the best – and most natural – outcome.
The Final Word
Whichever method of teeth whitening you choose, you can help to get the best out of – and even extend – the results by ensuring a good oral health and dental routine. And that means avoiding or limiting food and drink, such as tea, coffee, red wine, acidic drinks and sugary food, which can stain your teeth as well as avoiding tobacco. And always brush your teeth at least twice a day, as well as flossing and using teeth whitening mouthwash daily.
Caring for your teeth will help to keep them gleaming for longer, as well as boosting your all-round dental health. And that is something worth smiling about.