Teeth Whitening: What You Need To Know

Costello Family Dentistry are Carleton Place’s experts in improving and maintaining a bright, white smile. Find all of the important information you need to know about teeth whitening below.

Whiter Smiles Are More Confident Smiles

Everyone who cares about their oral health wants to be able to show off their pearly whites whenever they smile. As people get older, they may notice that their teeth are becoming darker, more yellow, or have some deep stains on them. It can be difficult to smile confidently when your teeth don’t look their best. Luckily, this discolouration can be fixed through professional teeth whitening. Lifestyle and dietary changes will also help keep teeth white once the whitening process is complete.

Causes of Discoloured Teeth

There are a number of things that people do every day that leads to tooth discolouration. By being mindful of these things and make changes in their lifestyle, they can reduce or eliminate the impact that these things have on tooth colour.

Woman smiling after having her teeth cleaned at the dentist
woman having her teeth matched for a new set of veneers


Smoking is one of the most common and fast acting ways to lose a white smile. The nicotine and tar that is found in cigarettes is deposited on the teeth, turning them yellow, and leaving more concentrated brown stains on the front teeth. Smoking also contributes to gum disease. It is best for overall health to quit smoking entirely, but surface level stains can be removed, and prevented from returning, with daily brushing.

Coffee, Tea & Acidic Drinks

Coffee and tea can very easily leave unsightly stains on a person’s teeth. This is especially true with black coffee and dark blends of tea. Regular oral care can reduce staining on the surface level, however deeper stains need to be addressed at a dentist appointment. Another reason that coffee and tea can contribute to tooth discolouration is that these drinks are acidic. The acidity of these drinks slowly breaks down the enamel, or outer layer of the tooth. As the enamel wears away, the dentin underneath becomes more visible. Dentin has a natural light-yellow colour to it and cannot be whitened. And once the enamel has worn away, it can’t be restored naturally. Teeth will need to be covered up by porcelain inlays, onlays or veneers to get that bright white colour back. That is why it is crucial to brush regularly with enamel strengthening toothpaste, and not overconsume drinks like coffee, tea, soda, wine or citrus fruit juices.

Coloured Sauces

Deeply coloured sauces like tomato, curry and soy sauce leads to tooth discolouration, especially if teeth aren’t clean soon after consuming these sauces. To avoid this, it is important to brush and rinse shortly after eating a meal that incorporates this type of sauce. Alternatively, light-coloured or creamy sauces like alfredo, garlic or béchamel can be used as they do not have the same staining effect that darker coloured sauces do.

Poor Dental Hygiene

While the previously mentioned causes of discoloured teeth are the most common culprits, it is important to note that all of them can be dealt with by practicing good oral hygiene. This means brushing twice a day, flossing before bed, and rinsing with mouthwash. By not practicing good oral hygiene, even foods and drinks that don’t commonly stain teeth can lead to tooth discolouration. These foods and drinks leave plaque on the teeth which eventually hardens to become dental calculus. Dental calculus is naturally yellow in colour, and as it hardens between teeth, and around the gum line, it begins to stand out in a person’s smile. Dental calculus can only be safely and effectively removed by a dental professional.

woman having the colour of her teeth matched for a new dental crown
before and after image of a woman's smile after teeth whitening

How Teeth Whitening Works

Teeth whitening is completed by applying a peroxide-based bleaching solution to the teeth. This solution penetrates the pores of the tooth enamel to get deep into the structure and whiten any stains that may be there. Generally, the longer the bleaching solution is left on the teeth, the whiter the teeth will become. However, it is important to know how concentrated the peroxide solution is as higher concentrations will work faster, but also need to be removed sooner after application. Peroxide whitening solutions that are left on teeth for too long will dehydrate teeth and lead to increased sensitivity for a period of time. It is also important to keep the solution from being in contact with the gums for extended periods of time as the bleaching agent can cause a mild chemical burn that will leave white spots that will go away after a while.

Costello Family Dentistry’s Teeth Whitening Kits

In addition to providing the highest standard of dental services to keep patients’ smiles clean, healthy and white, we also offer professional whitening kits that they can take home to brighten their smile in between regular appointments. Our kits provide mouth trays and a peroxide-based bleaching gel which is specially designed to penetrate deep into the enamel to whiten any deep stains that a patient’s teeth may have developed over time. It is important to follow the dentist’s instructions very closely when using our whitening kits. This is not only to help patients achieve the best results with these kits, but also to keep their teeth from becoming sensitive from overuse. If you are in Carleton Place and ready to get your brightest smile, then contact us for an appointment! New patients can even qualify to take home one of our whitening kits for free!

Man smiles at the camera before his dentist begins a procedure