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Teeth Whitening


Just like with most things, yes, you can overdo it with the whitening. A regular routine of whitening gum, toothpaste, DIY trays and whitening strips and can lead the teeth to appear less lustrous, but they quickly regain their sheen. Signs you’ve overdone whitening include seeing teeth that have a chalky look to them or teeth marred with white spots. One dentist-recommended way of gauging the kind of white you’re aiming for with your teeth is to take a look at the whites of your eyes and let that be your guide for how white you want to go with your teeth whitening.

How Much Is Too Much

Depending on your oral hygiene and dietary habits (i.e. coffee and red wine drinking), you will need to retouch your teeth with at-home whitening treatments in 6, 12 and 18-month intervals. Why could more whitening be problematic? The peroxide in whitening agents can lead to cellular damage, such as gingivitis and oversensitivity, in the gums. Overdoing it with the DIY strips can also wear away the outer shell of the tooth, known as enamel.

Take-Away Advice

Teeth in their natural state are not bone-white, but more of a pearly shade. Stick with matching the color of the whites of your eyes and don’t aim for shades whiter than that.


We’ve all been there. We eat something a dark shade of purple, and the next time we look in the mirror, our tongues are black and our teeth coated in color. Scan this list of top foods and drinks known to discolor teeth, and try to rinse and brush after having them. When that is not an option, use water to flush them out of your mouth.

  1. Orange Popsicles

    And purple and red and sky-blue ones, too. Foods such as flavored ice pops that get their color from dyes can stain your teeth. Remember this rule: If it turns your tongue a different color, it’s also discoloring your teeth, just in a less noticeable way.

  2. Dark Berries

    From blueberries to raspberries and cranberries, all those berries can stain your teeth. This is not a reason to avoid eating these potent, antioxidant-packed superfoods. Just be sure to rinse with water after popping the juicy fruits in your mouth.

  3. Ketchup

    This sugary, dark condiment with potent spices, like curry, cumin and turmeric, can stain your teeth over time. Just be sure to rinse and brush after meals containing ketchup. If that’s not an option, drink water to flush away tooth-staining food particles.

  4. Coffee

    You don’t have to quit your caffeine habit just because it stains your teeth—just put it on ice and try and use a straw when sipping down the dark liquid.

  5. Soda

    With or without sugar, soda discolors your teeth and smile. Soda is no friend to your mouth and should be avoided.


Ever looked in the mirror and wondered how your teeth got so yellow? Many of us have. Because yellowing can happen gradually, it can easily go overlooked. Luckily, yellow teeth are not a sign of a serious medical condition. And while it may be disheartening and confidence-shattering to feel like you’ve lost your best accessory—your bright, white smile—you can get it back. For starters, be aware of what causes yellowing, and how you can avoid or limit exposure to those things.

  1. You’re Getting Older

    Your teeth can also start yellowing as a natural part of the aging process. This happens as the strong, white protective coating on teeth, known as enamel, fades over time because of everyday wear and tear on your teeth.

  2. You’re a Smoker

    Tobacco products, from cigarettes and pipe smoke, stain teeth. If you consume these products, your teeth will darken over time.

  3. Your Oral Hygiene Is Lacking

    When you do not routinely brush, floss and rinse your mouth to remove plaque build-up and tartar, this can hasten the discoloration of your teeth.

  4. You’re on Medication

    Certain medications, such as the antibiotics doxycycline and tetracycline, can darken the teeth of children younger than 8 years old. Some antihistamines, drugs for high blood pressure and ntipsychotic medications can also stain adult teeth.Go over any such potential side effects of the medications you are currently, or may start taking, with your physician.

  5. You Have an Illness

    A less common cause of tooth discoloration can be either a disease that affects enamel, or the treatment of a disease, such as chemotherapy and/or radiation used to treat cancer. In this case, the discoloration is more of a brownish color.

  6. The Yellow Is in Your Genes

    It also may be possible that you inherited enamel that is more yellow than that of other people whose genes differ. If you notice your teeth are more yellow than you’d like, you can fix the issue by using any number of whitening strips, toothpastes and LISTERINE® mouthwashes to restore your bright smile.


Try supplementing your diet with the following foods. Not only do they offer you nutritional benefits, but they also help keep your teeth white.

  1. Cauliflower

    It’s one of those foods that requires a lot of chewing – and that’s a good thing for your teeth. The longer it takes to break down your food, the more saliva you produce. And saliva is a natural cleanser for your teeth to keep them shining bright.

  2. Strawberries

    These fruits may be a dark color, but they’re also packed with an enzyme known as malic acid, which naturally makes teeth whiter.

  3. Cheese

    Your mother told you to drink your milk for strong bones and a sparkling white smile. And she was correct. Dairy products, such as cheese, yogurt and milk, contain lactic acid and the enamel-fortifying mineral calcium, which strengthen teeth while also whitening them. Chewing on cheese also prompts production of saliva, which washes away staining food particles.

  4. Apples

    This fruit requires a lot of chewing to eat, similar to crunchy carrots, and that’s a good, cleansing exercise for your mouth. The natural scrubbing action washes particles from the teeth and keeps them white.

  5. Celery

    Fibrous fruits and veggies are not just low in calories and nutrient-rich, the chewy foods also keep teeth white and gum tissue healthy.


According to a recent survey, teeth whitening is one of the most requested cosmetic treatments at the dentist office. With the advent of new at-home techniques, teeth whitening is more popular than ever and relied on as a quick way to boost confidence.

In-Office Teeth Whitening Treatments

Your dentist can perform a professional tooth-whitening treatment, which involves applying strong agents to the teeth while also taking special precautions to protect the gums and rest of your mouth (the procedure typically involves gels with buffers that protect teeth from damage). These treatments significantly brighten teeth, making them up to 10 shades whiter. But they only whiten the front eight teeth.

DIY Teeth Whitening Treatments

Do-it-yourself whiteners are readily available at any drugstore, and have become popular and affordable alternatives to the professional treatments. Some options to look for include: Advanced Tartar Control, like LISTERINE®, whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, paint-on tooth gel, mouth trays with gel and whitening gum. These at-home whitening methods, used without dentist supervision, are considered generally safe by cosmetic dentistry associations. But if you have a diagnosed (or suspected) problem or condition with your gums, teeth or mouth, you should consult your dentist first before using DIY teeth whitening techniques. Also be sure to follow the package instructions, and if you experience any side effects, such as tooth sensitivity, discuss this with your dentist.


Not all whitening products work and are appropriate for everyone. If the reason that teeth are stained is because of improper home care of your mouth and teeth, whitening will not work.

Here are daily habits that can help ensure your teeth don’t darken as a result of inadequate oral hygiene. When you don’t regularly brush, floss and rinse to reduce food particles, bacteria and debris from your mouth, these can turn into stain-making substances that darken the teeth. Follow these steps every day to prevent hygiene-related stains on your teeth.


    At least twice daily, using a toothpaste that contains fluoride.


    At least once a day, to clean hard-to-reach areas between teeth.


    Rinse with a mouthwash like LISTERINE® Advanced Tartar Control for 30 seconds twice a day to protect against tartar and keep teeth naturally white. If you stick to this daily healthy-mouth routine you not only avoid dark stains but also plaque buildup, tooth decay and cavities.


There are two ways your teeth stain: surface stains, which are usually caused by personal habits, like smoking, coffee drinking and poor oral care; and deeper stains that reach into the enamel, which can be caused by trauma to the mouth, medications and the natural aging process.

You can whiten your teeth by removing surface stains or by bleaching them. Depending on the concentration of the whitening agents used, there are some treatments that are strong enough to reach deep into the tooth enamel to trigger a chemical reaction that breaks down compounds in stains. This reaction is called oxidation. If the concentration isn’t that high, the products treat only the surface.

  • Professional Dentist Whitening

    A benefit to having a dentist-administered treatment is that your mouth is usually thoroughly cleaned and examined before the treatment takes place. In-office cleanings typically use hydrogen peroxides. The procedure typically involves a dentist applying peroxide gel, removing it and reapplying it several times. Professional whitening treatments can make teeth four to six shades whiter. Another benefit to in-office treatment is that your gums and mouth are protected while the teeth are brightened. These tend be the most expensive whitening solutions, but the effects also last the longest.

  • Dentist-Fitted At-Home Whitening

    Do-It-Yourself teeth whitening products also use peroxide gels, as well as other ingredients, including flavoring agents, water and glycerin. Your dentist will take impressions of your mouth and replicate them when making customized trays.You are given a gel to apply to the teeth via the trays and instructed to wear the trays a few hours daily over a period of one to two weeks.

  • DIY Whitening

    When you do-it-yourself whiten, it’s a good idea to first get your mouth checked out by your dentist to identify and treat any problem spots before you apply the whitening product. As mentioned, most at-home whiteners use hydrogen peroxide, although the concentration of chemicals might not be as high as in professional cleanings. This chemical solution may be in gel, gum, strip, or toothpaste form.

  • Who Should Not Whiten

    Whitening is not a solution for everyone but if you have any questions, you should consult a dentist before applying any whitening product to your teeth.


  • Are Teeth Naturally White?

    Teeth are not naturally white. They are a pearly shade that, as we age, no matter how good your oral hygiene, gradually turns more yellow. You see this first when a baby’s snow-white teeth are replaced by permanent teeth that are, by nature, more yellow in color. As we get older, the outer layer of enamel on the teeth wears down and exposes the dentin layer of the teeth, which is more yellow. Over the years, tartar and wear-and-tear stains appear and can darken the color of teeth.

  • Can My Dentures Yellow Over Time?

    Yes, false teeth can absolutely stain and turn colors over time. When not brushed daily, left-behind food debris and bacteria-filled plaque can create stains that look yellowish-gray, green and even black on teeth. (However, dental implants like crowns and veneers cannot be whitened.) Avoid this scenario by maintaining stellar oral hygiene even when your teeth are false, and brush and soak your dentures regularly while also following the proper steps to clean your dentures.