Insightful and informative dentist blog, covering a wide range of dental topics alongside new treatment & clinic announcements.

The impact of age on teeth whitening results

Can older people whiten their teeth?

Have you always wanted pearly white teeth, but are worried you might be too old for teeth whitening treatment? Well, just because you’re getting longer in the tooth, it doesn’t mean you have to put up with older looking teeth.

Teeth whitening for all ages

Teeth whitening treatments are for everyone – there’s no age limit to having any kind of cosmetic dental treatments, so it doesn’t matter if you’re 26 or 62 or older, if you want whiter teeth, your age is not going to prevent it from happening. The only difference is that the older you are, the longer the whitening process might take, simply because there will be more staining. 

As we age, our teeth begin to discolour which is a natural process. In the past, discolouration was accepted as an inevitable part of the ageing process that even the best oral hygiene routine couldn’t prevent. 

Are teeth naturally white?

The first thing you need to realise is that no-one’s natural teeth are pure white, and to understand why, we need to look at the structure of your teeth.

Enamel is just the outside layer of each tooth, encasing a substance called dentin which actually makes up the bulk of the tooth. Dentin is yellowish in colour. While the covering enamel is blueish-white in colour, it is also translucent, which means the yellow from the dentin is going to come through and affect the look of your teeth.

While tooth enamel is very strong, over time you will experience enamel erosion, either by diet – sugary and starchy food, acidic food and drinks, and sodas – or medical conditions such as acid reflux, low salivary flow, some medications e.g. antibiotic tetracycline, and genetic disorders. The thinner the enamel, the more the dentin will show through, giving your teeth a yellower appearance. 

Food and drink and bad habits that stain tooth enamel

Our lifestyle habits also contribute to the colour of our teeth and some of our favourite foods and drinks are bad when it comes to staining the enamel on our teeth. Drinking coffee and tea on a daily basis is one of the main offenders, especially if you drink them without milk. With tea, it’s the tannin that’s the main cause of staining, which is mostly prevalent in the black teas, so if you’re worried about tea staining your teeth, drink green teas or white teas which won’t be quite as bad. 

If you like sodas, it’s doubly bad news, because the artificial sugar and acid erodes your tooth enamel at the same time as the dark-coloured sodas stain it. 

And of course, if you like to drink red wine, this will also stain your teeth over time.

When it comes to juice, stick to the lighter coloured ones, e.g. apple. Dark juices, such as grape and cranberry, will stain. 

In fact, when it comes to fruit and veg, the darker ones are also staining, such as beetroots and blueberries, as well as tomatoes and pasta sauce. 

It’s also bad news for food flavourings. Spices and condiments such as soy sauce, turmeric and balsamic vinegar are also bad news for fans of white teeth. 

If you’re a smoker, you’ll probably already know that tobacco stains the teeth, thanks to the tar and nicotine in it. If you’re trying to give up smoking by taking up vaping instead, you still need to be careful, because e-cigarettes also contain nicotine. 

At-home teeth whitening – the bad news

There is a huge range of over-the-counter at-home teeth whitening products, such as whitening kits, whitening gels, whitening pens, whitening toothpaste and baking soda products on the market. However, their effectiveness is questionable and at best they can only ever produce a minimal whitening effect. This is because health and safety laws only allow very low levels of hydrogen peroxide – the bleaching agent – to be used in the products, which is not enough to produce the kind of results most people are looking for.

Professional teeth whitening – the good news

The law allows professional whitening treatments to contain greater amounts of hydrogen peroxide because their application will be done by, or supervised by, a trained cosmetic dentist. And that means that professional teeth whitening works.

Our teeth whitening treatments

No matter how old you are, or how stained your teeth are, there’s always something that can be done to whiten your teeth.

We offer three teeth whitening treatments, the most popular of which is the Enlighten combination of in-clinic and at-home treatment which can whiten up to 16 shades lighter in up to three weeks.

Alternatively, with the Enlighten Zoom in chair whitening, you will achieve results in just one visit; this is an especially good treatment if you suffer from tooth sensitivity as 99% of our patients say they experience little or no sensitivity at all.

While we would love to see you in person, if your budget is an issue or getting to our clinic in London’s Harley Street district problematic, we offer the Zoom DayWhite at-home treatment which you use for 30 minutes a day for one or two weeks. 

Other ways of achieving a brighter smile

In addition to tooth whitening, you might be thinking of an alternative dental cosmetic treatment that will deal with any imperfections and result in a brilliant smile. These include porcelain veneers, composite bonding, Invisalign teeth straightening and dental implants

Click here to book a free 30 minute consultation to talk through your options with one of our dentists. You may also like to know that we offer payment plans with 0% finance which we will also be happy to discuss. No matter what your age, there’s always a way to whiten your teeth!