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Unlike temporary teeth which are shiny, very white and very clean looking, the permanent teeth that follow once the deciduous teeth are lost are usually less porous. Because of this, permanent teeth come in varying shades from white to off-white and sometimes to yellowish. It could shade darker as the person grows older, perfectly normal.

While the darkening of the teeth as it ages is mainly due to the changes in the teeth’s mineral structure, the enamel at the same time gets less porous and less shiny making it more susceptible to stains from bacterial pigments, medication, tobacco, wine, coffee, tea and food. No matter how good the hygiene of a person is, the teeth simply ages. Rightly or wrongly, white brilliant teeth are attributed to health, youth, good grooming and being clean.

In an age where getting the best foot forward is never possible without having a pleasant smile, whitening the teeth no matter the age and no matter the lifestyle, completes the projection that a person wants to convey across. Good thing that there are many ways to do this fast, effective and not costly. This could be done with professional help although for the most part, a DIY – at home whitening does wonders as well. The most common methods are using bleaching pens, bleaching strips, gels and natural bleaching, most of which could be obtained from the local pharmacy and dental supply stores.

There are however some risks involved when doing teeth whitening at home as some teeth could be sensitive than others and gums could also be irritated that could cause degrees of discomfort. When whitening the teeth at home, it will always be recommended to use those that have low concentration of whitening agents. Although this method is far less effective and takes a while longer, it is also the safest. When using hydrogen peroxide for example, the concentration of the mix that is recommended at the back of the bottle should be adhered strictly if not less than what is recommended just to test it out. While studies have shown (Kugel et al) that the effect of peroxides at decreasing the tooth enamel is very insignificant, it nonetheless tends to make the teeth more sensitive for some time and when the proportion of the mix is on the strong side, the mix could result to painful gums and cause irritation to the surrounding tissues inside the mouth.

Some stains though are not so easy to remove and may take longer treatment for the whitening agent to reach the dentine layer. For stubborn stains and uncomfortably dark shades in the teeth, self help may no longer suffice. Treatments could be done by a professional who could use custom bleaching trays, laser treatment, and in cases where discoloration is ugly, porcelain veneers could be applied including dental bonding.

Although teeth whitening are only cosmetic, the reward it provides a person in terms of confidence and a general feeling good grooming and of well-being is enormous.

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