How Teeth Whitening Works – Everything You Need To Know

“How does teeth whitening work?”

It’s a question that we, as teeth whitening professionals, get all the time. Whenever new clients walk in our door, they want to understand the ins and outs of teeth whitening before anything else. They want to know how the process works, what ingredients are used, and if teeth whitening is right for them. 

That’s what we look to answer in this article. We look to uncover everything about teeth whitening, from the process, tools, and everything in between. 

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Two major approaches can be distinguished for teeth whitening: chemical bleaching by peroxides and mechanical cleaning through abrasive toothpaste.

Professional teeth whitening is normally done by applying products with peroxides to your teeth. These are normally either hydrogen peroxide or calcium peroxide. The bleaching agents make it such that your tooth stains are oxidized to become non-colored organic compounds. These compounds are then removed from the tooth surface through subsequent rinsing and washing. 

Whitening toothpaste, on the other hand, makes use of abrasives for efficient stain removal. In general, a toothpaste with highly abrasive materials will remove the outer enamel of your tooth to “whiten” it, including the attached and incorporated stains. 

Of the two methods, it is clear that professional teeth whitening is the safer and more effective method. The bleaching agents don’t simply target the outer layer of your teeth, they specifically find and remove tooth stains on your tooth’s surface. 

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question. 

Depending on what you do to prevent further staining, the effects of professional teeth whitening can last up to 2 years or as little as 6 months. The length of time will depend on your oral hygiene habits and diet. 

Capitalize on teeth whitening products and follow our aftercare tips to lengthen the effects of your teeth whitening. Also, make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and cut down on acidic and sugary food.

The Teeth Whitening Process

No matter which method you choose, the teeth whitening process remains the same. Here at The Smile Bar, we’ve mastered this process and broke it down into 4 steps. Here’s how teeth whitening works:


It’s always good to see where you’re at before you start anything. Grab a teeth whitening dental shade guide and compare the color of your teeth against it. You can either buy the physical product or search the shades online and compare your teeth’s shade to that. 

At The Smile Bar, we add on an extra step here: orientation. We take the time to explain our process, the tools we use, the ingredients we have, and after-care tips to provide a complete teeth whitening experience. Knowing how to properly maintain your teeth extends the time your teeth remain white. 

Pre-Whitening Procedure

The second step is to prep your teeth for whitening. To maximize the cleansing, we recommend you to follow a two-step mouth cleaning process – gargling with the BrilliantSmile Whitening Mouthrinse and then brushing your teeth with the BrilliantSmile Whitening Toothpaste, which prepares your teeth for the whitening treatment. 

For those of you at home, you may use whatever is available to you at the moment – which is likely Colgate or some other brand. While these products may have provided some level of whitening, it would be difficult to ascertain their effectiveness as a pre-whitening procedure. 

Direct Whitening

It’s finally time for the actual whitening session. During this step, you may use either at-home whitening kits or go through professional whitening. 

At-Home Whitening Kits 

You have a wide array of options for at-home whitening kits. Whether you choose to use natural or over-the-counter teeth whitening products, you’ll find that either method provides accessible, cost-efficient, and effective methods to whiten your teeth. 

While we recommend either using our complete selection of Brilliant Smile products which you can purchase through our Shop page, you also have natural options such as rubbing your teeth with orange peels or simple healthy living to prevent staining. 

Note, however, that what you make up for in cost when using natural products, you lose in efficacy.

  Professional Whitening

The main advantage of professional whitening is its effectiveness and speed. The Smile Bar’s teeth whitening process, for example, promises to give you visibly whiter teeth in as little as 20 minutes. Natural whitening methods or at-home whitening kits may take weeks before you see results and, in the process, hurt your teeth by reducing the amount of enamel coating your dentin. 

Professional whitening reduces these risks by using LED technology that makes sure that the process gives zero pain and leaves no side effects. The entire process lasts for less than half an hour and leaves your teeth 2 to 9 shades whiter. 

Once you finish the direct whitening process, evaluate your teeth again to find out how many shades lighter your teeth had become!

After-Whitening Care

You may have had your teeth professionally whitened but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything else you can do to prevent staining in the future. This is a key step to how teeth whitening works.

We have a full article covering after-whitening care tips and what you can do to whiten your teeth so make sure to check that out. In the meantime, here are three key tips:

  1. Brush Your Teeth Regularly – Good oral hygiene is an absolute must when it comes to after-whitening care. Brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes. 
  2. Use Whitening Toothpastewhitening toothpaste with activated charcoal claims that the abrasive texture of its ingredients Acidic foods can cause discoloration and weaken your teeth while fruits and vegetables have low acid content and increase your overall health.
  3. Watch What You Eat – brushing your teeth and having great oral hygiene is great for removing nasty stains, but preventing them requires a healthy and balanced diet to reduce the pigments that you consume.  

Teeth Whitening: The Healthy Way To A Brighter Smile

Professional teeth whitening is perhaps the healthiest, most effective, and quickest way to a brighter smile. It reduces the chances of gum sensitivity and eroded enamel as teeth whitening professionals continue to improve the effectiveness and safeness of the process.

We’ve explained how teeth whitening works so it’s finally your turn!

While you can follow these steps at home, we highly recommend you pay a visit to one of our The Smile Bar stores. Send an e-mail and get to know the process a little bit better before you get your teeth up to 9 shades whiter in as little as 20 minutes!