The best way to keep your teeth white depends on your age

Image: White smiles from Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence, via Getty

White teeth tend to be high on everyone’s beauty wish-list – and you don’t need to be 21 years old in order for that dream to come true. Here, The Glow’s resident dentist Dr Priya Lal offers her beauty buys and tips for keeping your teeth as white as possible at each stage of your life.

In your 20s

What’s happening?

Dark foods and drinks may have caused your teeth to discolour and appear yellow. Teeth may have hardened plaque/tartar making them prone to temporary surface stains because substances adhere to sticky plaque.

What can I do?

Follow a consistent three-step routine from as early as possible for your smile to age gracefully. Brush your teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush for at least two minutes twice daily, then floss and brush your tongue. To keep plaque under control, seek regular dental checkups and get professional cleanings every 4-6 months. This will help remove plaque buildup and the stains in-between teeth.

In your 30s

What’s happening?

In addition to surface stains, you may also experience internal stains as teeth begin to age. Everyday wear and tear thins the outer enamel surface making the inner, darker layer of our teeth more visible. Parafunctional habits such as teeth grinding and jaw clenching also exacerbate the problem, and become more visible at this stage of life.

What can I do?

To ease surface stains, use whitening toothpaste once a week. If you have the money,  you could consider investing in customised whitening trays from your dentist (about $450). Remember that bleaching trays are only to be used for the amount of time recommended by your dentist; overuse can damage your enamel and make your teeth appear grey or transparent.


If you don’t have the money to outlay on whitening treatments at the dentist’s, many at-home kits and toothpastes are also effective. Try Oral-B 3D White Whitening Strips, $29.95.

Certain lip colours can also help brighten a smile. Look for blue-tinged reds and bright pinks such as Chanel Rouge Allure and MAC Lady Danger.

There is such thing as too-white teeth, as Ross discovered...

In your 40s

What’s happening?

Your teeth may now appear duller and darker. Additionally, salivary flow may begin to decline, especially if you're taking certain medications like antihypertensives, antidepressants, diuretics etc. Saliva acts as lubricant to teeth to help prevent staining, so the less saliva you have, the more your teeth suffer.

What can I do?

Customised whitening trays will help brighten your smile. If your teeth are sensitive, ask your dentist about sensitive toothpastes and bleaching gels such as Opalescence. To minimise low salivary flow, frequently sip water especially after consuming tea, coffee or red wine.

In your 50s

What’s happening?

Stains become more embedded and it’s more difficult to get your smile white.

What can I do?

A combination of customised whitening trays and in-office bleaching like Pola-Office can help achieve a desirable result.

Want to learn more tips from Dr Lal? Visit, or High Dental's Facebook.

To request an appointment with Dr Lal in Melbourne, call 0390776363