A brighter whiter look
If you are happy with the shape of your teeth, but don’t think they are white enough, you could try one of the many whitening toothpastes coming on to the market.
Sales have doubled in the past year, but results are mixed. Only one brand, Janina, has been proved to be effective in clinical trials, according to Dr Edward Lynch, of the Royal London Hospital School of Medicine and Dentistry, who has been studying whitening products for more than 10 years.
If whitening toothpastes don’t work, your dentist can bleach your teeth. This treatment, which costs around £250 privately, normally uses a guard containing bleaching agents, which you put in your mouth at night, following the dentist’s instructions.
“There is no doubt that professional bleaching whitens teeth,” says Dr Lynch. “If you have exceptionally stained teeth, it cannot guarantee to whiten them completely, but it will make them lighter.
“The younger the patient, the better the results; the lighter the colour of your teeth, the better the outcome.”
The most effective bleach contains hydrogen peroxide. This is used widely in America and elsewhere, but is currently banned in Britain because it just breaches safety levels – a ban that the British Dental Association (BDA) is trying to overturn.
“We have taken expert advice on the use of hydrogen peroxide and are happy that there is no risk to human health,” says a BDA spokesman. “Without it, patients are being denied a very effective treatment for discoloured teeth.” Bleaching is available at dental surgeries, but only non-acidic gels are used. Before you splash out on treatment, the BDA suggests trying a scale and polish, which will remove most superficial stains