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What is the best way to get whiter teeth?

The desire for white teeth has been common since civilisation began, but what is the best way to get whiter teeth? In the past, people with bright, white teeth were commonly seen as wealthy and ones of importance. For thousands of years, different methods and techniques have been used. The ancient Romans used goat milk and urine to create a paste to use on the teeth. The late 17th century saw people filing their teeth down and applying acid to achieve a brighter smile.

Although these might have worked to some extent, they would have been time-consuming and, in some cases, damaging. Modern dentistry has found ways to whiten the teeth effectively and safely. In this post, we will discuss what causes teeth to become discoloured and the most common and effective ways you can whiten them.

What causes discolouration of the teeth?

There are several different causes as to why a person’s teeth might become discoloured. It’s common for teeth to lose their natural whiteness over time as we age. A major factor affecting their colour are our lifestyle choices. Food and drink can cause staining on the surface, particularly teas and coffees which are an extremely popular beverage in the UK. As does smoking and the consumption of alcohol. The best way to get whiter teeth will depend on how badly your teeth are stained, and whether the discolouration is Extrinsic or Intrinsic.

Extrinsic stains

Extrinsic stains appear on the outer surface of the tooth, known as the enamel. The most typical causes of Extrinsic stains occur due to decisions we make in our life and poor dental hygiene. This includes certain foods and beverages and the use of tobacco. In most cases, these stains can be removed or corrected with ease. Highly acidic foods can damage the enamel resulting in tooth decay and intrinsic staining of the teeth.

Intrinsic stains

Intrinsic stains are the result of staining which has occurred in the inner part of the tooth known as the dentin. As we get older the dentin will naturally become discoloured over time, however, there are factors during the early development of the teeth that could be the cause of discolouration.

During early childhood when teeth are developing, exposure to too much fluoride and tetracycline antibiotics could be the cause of tooth discolouration. Physical injury to the teeth can also be the cause of intrinsic stains due to internal bleeding. Stains that occur deeper in the tooth are harder to correct, particularly in severe situations such as tetracycline discolouration. However, modern dentistry can provide a solution to almost any cosmetic concern. Below we will look at the best ways to get whiter teeth.

Tooth discolouration is extremely common as we age, however, maintaining a good standard of oral health can help keep your smile bright. Plaque and tartar build-up will result in the teeth looking a yellowish colour, a result of poor oral hygiene. This can lead to further problems later in life such as tooth decay and even tooth loss. Brushing your teeth twice a day whilst flossing can help prevent this.

Brushing your teeth cannot change their colour, however, it can remove Extrinsic stains. Regular visits to your dentist and hygienist for a deep professional clean and polish is also a great way of removing surface stains and brightening your smile.

Whiter Teeth with Cosmetic Dentistry

Sometimes stains might be too heavy to correct just by maintaining good oral hygiene and regularly visiting your dentist. Many people are simply unhappy with the shade of their teeth and desire a brighter smile. Cosmetic Dentistry can give you a smile that you are confident sharing with the whole world.

Dental bleaching

For deeper, intrinsic stains on otherwise healthy teeth, dental bleaching might be the best way to get whiter teeth. Often referred to as ‘teeth whitening’, dental bleaching works by breaking down stains that have occurred within the inner structure of the tooth. These stains are known as chromophores; chemicals that are found within certain food and drinks. As well as removing deeper stains, dental bleaching can remove surface stains and change the natural teeth colour to a much brighter shade.

Teeth whitening is an extremely safe procedure and will not cause any damage to the tooth’s enamel. In fact, dental bleaching is a completely non-invasive procedure. Here at Revitalise we offer a professional teeth whitening service, in which we combine in-house treatment with a DIY kit to offer you the best and most comfortable teeth whitening experience.

Ceramic crowns

Sometimes teeth that are badly stained or discoloured due to injury will not benefit from dental bleaching or will not achieve the desired result. The best way to get whiter teeth and to fix these cosmetic concerns might be with ceramic crowns. Using a ceramic ‘cap’, crowns are bonded directly onto your natural teeth by using a strong adhesive. Ceramic crowns have three common uses; to restore broken teeth to their correct shape, improve the way they look, and to help strengthen them. A ceramic crown will cover the whole of a tooth, ultimately becoming its new outer surface.


Unlike a ceramic crown, a veneer is designed to cover the front of a tooth rather than the whole area. For this reason Veneers are often reserved for the front teeth which show when a person smiles and speaks.

Veneers are best used for severe Intrinsic stains where teeth whitening will not produce the desired result. It is important to note that Veneers are designed to match the colour of your other teeth. For this reason, if you desire a lighter shade, dental bleaching might be recommended before a veneer is placed. This is because bleaching will not work on a veneer.

Both Veneers and Crowns require partial removal of the tooth’s enamel which can make the underlying discolouration worse. Unlike dental bleaching, which corrects discolouration by breaking down chromophores, crowns and veneers are bonded to the natural teeth.

Find out more

Because teeth whitening has become extremely popular in the UK, many DIY remedies have also popularised. As well as over the counter teeth whitening kits. Before starting any whitening treatment it is always best to speak with a qualified dentists to avoid potential irreversible damage to your teeth.

Revitalise Dental Centre offers a range of treatment options for anyone looking to brighten their smile. If you are interested in any of our cosmetic dentistry services book a consultation today.

About the author


Jason Smithson is an internationally renowned cosmetic and reconstructive dentist formerly of London’s Harley Street Medical District, he is now based in St Agnes, Cornwall where he offers dentistry, dental-education and medico-legal expert witness services. World-class crowns, veneers and direct composite resin artistry are delivered with uncompromising standards bespoke to the patient’s individual requirements. He is considered to be the ‘Dentist’s Dentist’ and regularly treats other dentists; many of whom travel from throughout the UK to see him. Dr Smithson is an ‘In Demand’ presenter and is perhaps the most prolific in the UK. He is considered by his peers to be an authority on aesthetic dentistry and has presented to audiences on every continent over the past 10 years. He is a true innovator and pioneered the use of Dental Operating Microscope in teaching Direct Resin Artistry to other dentists in the UK; he is the author of numerous articles and a book on crowns in aesthetic dentistry.

Connect with Jason Smithson on LinkedIn.

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What our Clients say

Marion visited Revitalise to reclaim her smile with a complete implant treatment. In this video, she explains how the staff at the practice put her at ease and why she recommends Revitalise to everyone she meets.

Client: Marion
Treatment: Complete mouth secured with implants

“The minute I met Martin, I just knew he was so calm and relaxing. So then we had a discussion and Martin said what he could do and it had to be what our pocket could afford as well and we went ahead with it. The experience I had at this dentist was unbelievable, it was a journey I loved every minute of.”

Client: Dee
Treatment: Dental Implants

“There’s always smiling, handshakes, hugs and plenty of tea and coffee. They looked after my husband who was there for the day. They do the sedation and Hayley looked after me. Obviously I was unaware of exactly what they were doing, but they always make you feel so comfortable. Although you’re nervous, I don’t think I could’ve gone and got the same treatment anywhere else.”

Client: Carolyn
Treatment: Dental Implants

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