Want a whiter, brighter smile? Here are your options.

Image: iStock.

Unfortunately, sparkling white teeth don’t usually happen by accident. With a plethora of products on the market that promise to whiten (brighten and sparkle) your pearly whites, it can be hard to know the most effective (and, ahem, cost effective) way to go about it.

Teeth, like diamonds, are forever. You don’t want to stuff them up with a dodgy, DIY treatment. And that’s coming from me, the queen of DIY beauty treatments! Before doing anything with my teeth, I always consult my dentist, Dr. Wyndham Hui, who is based Sydney. He gave me all the info on how to go about whitening…

Related: 50 Shades of Cray: Pore strips for your teeth.

Whitening toothpastes – should you go there?

“I super duper dislike whitening toothpastes. I tell all my patients to avoid them.”

He says they will ruin the surface of your teeth and actually make them more yellow. 

“Whitening toothpastes aren’t safe for our teeth surfaces. Most whitening toothpastes contain more abrasive particles, which do help to remove stains from our teeth.

“But, at the same time, those particles are wearing down our precious enamel. In the long term, we would see teeth actually becoming more yellow with its use as the enamel thins to reveal the underlying, yellow dentine. Some whitening toothpastes do contain active ingredients, but the concentration is so low that it is doubtful whether there are any benefits.”

Quick beauty tip: Cheat your way to whiter-looking teeth by wearing a bright lipstick! (Post continues after gallery.)


Whitening strips are OK

“I don’t mind these. I actually do tell my patients to try them out, as they are generally inexpensive. They contain similar active ingredients found in professional whitening kits, but in lower concentrations. Theoretically, you should see some sort of a result, but changes will be minor. Whitening strips are perfectly safe for the surface of your teeth.”

Professional take-home kits are afforable and affective

“Professional take-home kits are my go-to method for whitening. They’re relatively comfortable, affordable and achieve great results. Our take-home kits contain trays to fit to your upper and lower teeth, four whitening gel syringes, some sensitive toothpaste, and a set of instructions. It costs $380 for a kit, all inclusive. It takes between one-and-a-half to two weeks to get a result.”

Before using a professional take-home kit, get a check-up and clean

“When prescribing the use of a whitening product, I need to make sure my patient’s mouth is healthy before we proceed. This requires a check-up. A good teeth scaling is also important, because results are better when whitening is performed on clean teeth. Home care is also important. Brushing and flossing before using the whitening gel will increase comfort and improve results. Lastly, I would avoid acidic foods and drinks during whitening as these tend to increase teeth sensitivity.”

Related: The 4 fancy dental products that aren’t worth the money – and 3 that are.