The safest way to get a whiter smile (2024)

Like all medical procedures, tooth whitening carries some element of risk. That’s why it’s important to discover how you can achieve that whiter smile in the safest way possible.

If you are thinking about having tooth whitening there are some essential rules to follow, as well as some dangerous pitfalls to avoid. There are also some actions you can take at home that might mean you no longer feel the need to have treatment.

Tooth whitening in professional hands

When it comes to tooth whitening, there really isn’t a better source of information than your dental team.

Not only are they fully qualified and licensed to perform the treatment, but they will be able to take your dental needs into account. Dentists can treat you with 6% hydrogen peroxide (the bleaching agent that whitens teeth) – this is nearly 6,000 times stronger than any over-the-counter tooth whitening product. Because of this, tooth whitening by a dentist will give you the very best results.

Tooth whitening by your dentist will not only be more effective, but it will also be safer.

Your dentist will examine you before the treatment and make sure your mouth is in a healthy condition. They will also pick up a trace of any disease. This will all take place in the safest location… the dental practice. Dental practices undergo strict and rigorous controls for hygiene, sterilisation, cleanliness and ventilation. When visiting a dental practice you can guarantee your smile is in safe hands.

Avoiding online promotions and cheaper treatments

It is common to see tooth whitening kits and home treatments advertised on websites and social media. Many of these products come from overseas so it is difficult to guarantee product ingredients or safety. This might put your smile at risk.

It is much harder to police companies and products online, so you cannot be sure they are regulated and of the highest standards. The best way to know that tooth whitening products are safe is to check with your dentist first.

As well as being exposed to potential unsafe products online, you may also be inundated with special offers from companies carrying out tooth whitening treatment.

Remember, it is illegal for anyone other than a qualified dental professional such as a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental therapist, to carry out tooth whitening. We also do not recommend traveling overseas for tooth whitening. By having your teeth whitened by a dentist in the UK you can rest assured that you are getting a good quality service and that they are operating within the strict guidelines of the law. When tooth whitening goes wrong, it can result in long-lasting or permanent damage – it is not worth saving a few pounds to put your health at risk.

I worry now about the rise in reality TV and social media hacks leading to more people damaging their teeth by listening to people who aren’t qualified

Caring for your smile

A good daily oral hygiene routine can not only help your teeth stay clean, but also white.

Twice daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and daily interdental cleaning can help preserve the natural colour of your teeth. It can also extend the effects of a tooth whitening treatment.

It is also important to learn that you may not need to actively whiten your teeth – but instead cut down on the things that stain or discolour your teeth. Certain foods and drinks like red wine, tea and coffee can all reduce the whiteness of your smile, as can smoking. By reducing these, you may find it easier to preserve the natural colour of your smile without the need for treatment.

More information

  • About tooth whitening
  • Tooth whitening and the law
  • When tooth whitening becomes unsafe

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About Safe Smiles

Safe Smiles is a new charity campaign by the Oral Health Foundation that gives you unbiased, trusted and expert advice about dental treatments.

We are here to help steer you in the right direction so that you can make informed and safe choices about your treatment. This campaign is all about keeping your smile safe, healthy and looking great.

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