The Best Way to Whiten Your Teeth - What Science Says
The truth is, teeth stain.
As you live life, your teeth gradually stain from everyday activities and darken with age. Depending on your diet, lifestyle, and genetics, it is different for everyone.
Millions of people every year look for ways to reverse this gradual darkening and whiten their teeth back to their natural white.
If you did a quick internet search right now, you could probably find one hundred different ways to whiten your teeth. There's everything from all-natural at-home remedies, to chemical driven strips and pens. There are even those gimmick whitening toothpastes, gums, and LED treatments. All of them are claiming to be the best way to whiten your teeth. It gets hard to keep things straight, and separate what's fact and what's not. What really works to whiten your teeth? What does science actually say?
As a Doctor of Dental Surgery, a licensed California esthetician and former Beverly Hills dentist, I can help clear the air.
Products such as whitening strips, charcoal toothpastes, and even those LED teeth whitening treatments do only one thing: Remove surface stains. Using these products, you may see gradual results as top level stains are lifted from your teeth. The results will disappear quickly if these treatments are not used everyday. This is because these treatments never actually whiten the tooth that has darkened over time, they just give the illusion of whiter teeth by altering the surface.
Products that actually work to whiten you entire tooth, not just the surface, are few and far between. This requires higher strength chemicals and more time for those chemicals to work. Going to the dentist's office for a professional teeth-whitening does this and delivers some great whitening results, but limits the amount of time and can be very, very expensive.
According to this study published in the National Library of Medicine, "overnight bleaching was shown to be the most effective method of bleaching."
(Cited: Matis BA, Cochran MA, Eckert G. Review of the effectiveness of various tooth whitening systems. Oper Dent. 2009 Mar-Apr;34(2):230-5. doi: 10.2341/08-74. PMID: 19363980.)
This is because overnight treatments allow whitening to occur for an extended period of time while you sleep. There are not many companies operating in the area of overnight teeth whitening, because it's a hard thing to get right. Companies like Beverly Hills Whitening offer overnight teeth whitening and are doing a great job developing products and treatments that are science-driven and actually work to whiten your entire tooth. Because they don't just whiten surface stains, but the entire tooth, their teeth whitening treatments don't need to be repeated.
Dr. Caroline Girard