A bright smile


Want whiter teeth? Here’s how to make your mouth more dazzling.

Your dentist

  • Tray bleaching is a professional procedure that uses whitening gel available only through your dentist. The gel is placed in custom-made trays that fit perfectly over your teeth. As the peroxide in the gel breaks down, it whitens stained teeth. This form of bleaching is better than strips or paint-on options because it whitens all your natural teeth and contains ingredients to protect your gums. The procedure starts at R600.
  • Dr Walter Reynecke of The Dental Spa in Pretoria says treatments carried out in a dentist’s chair are best for instant results. The dentist applies either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the soft gum tissue. A bleaching agent (either hydrogen or carbamide peroxide) is then applied to the teeth and a special light is often used to enhance the action of the agent. These treatments can take 30-90 minutes and start at R3 000 a session. After treatment you need to maintain your teeth at home with an appropriate toothpaste, mouthwash and bleaching gel.

At home

  • The least expensive and most readily available options are whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes. Designed to have “whitening” capabilities, these products aim to remove surface stains using mild abrasives. They work to remove stains rather than actually bleaching your teeth.
  • You can also find paint-on teeth whiteners at pharmacies. These are gels that contain low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide that bleach the surface of your teeth. There are also teeth-whitening strips – thin, flexible plastic (polyethylene) strips with a film of hydrogen peroxide on one side. Paint-on whiteners cost between R100 and R300.

Top tip

Acid is the biggest cause of discolouration of teeth. After eating acidic foods wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth or you could brush the acidity deeper into your teeth which could erode the enamel.

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