Teeth Whitening Trends Over the Decades

Teeth Whitening Trends Over the Decades

Teeth whitening as a professional treatment is seemingly more popular now than it has ever been before. But that doesn’t mean that the overall concept is something new – in fact, teeth whitening and the search for a whiter, brighter smile is something that has underpinned the dental industry for decades. 

Of course, as is so often the case, this means that teeth whitening isn’t just backed up by past trends and treatment methods, but also by countless myths and miscommunications.

For example, it was once believed that white teeth equated to a healthier mouth. We now know that someone can have the brightest teeth in the world but still be living with gum disease and other underlying issues – and that only good oral hygiene can support a healthy as well as a bright white smile. 

In this blog, we’re taking a look at some of the teeth whitening trends from across the years, covering some of the popular whitening methods and the myths that have plagued the industry. 

How has teeth whitening changed over the years?

Before we share some of the most entertaining whitening trends from over the years, it’s important to acknowledge a few truths from the market in terms of statistics and the growth of whitening as a trend.

Teeth whitening is becoming more and more popular, because it is increasingly accessible to a wider proportion of consumers. With the high street offering countless DIY and at-home solutions, which are considered both affordable and marginally effective, whitening has become something that anyone can try for themselves.

Of course, DIY methods have always been accessible – in fact, these make up some of the more interesting trends from the past. However, it’s the bridge between accessible and available whitening methods, and the backing of science and increased understanding, that makes these solutions more appealing now than ever before. 

Here are some of the most interesting and entertaining teeth whitening methods from the past…

Teeth whitening can be traced all the way back to the Ancient Egyptians, who used a blend of ground pumice stone and wine vinegar to scrub at and whiten their teeth. Now, for anyone who has used a pumice stone for their feet and to remove dry skin, you will appreciate how corrosive this was on the teeth’s enamel and surface – whitening teeth but at an intensely damaging cost. 

Another ancient tradition that is interesting to note comes from the Romans, who used urine to whiten their teeth. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that urine was used for its ammonia content – something that is still used in teeth whitening today (although not in the form of urine!).

Finally, we can’t move into the modern world of teeth whitening without first mentioning the link between oral hygiene and barbers. Before dentists, barbers took care of both hair and teeth – and would use metal files to literally wear away the discoloured surface of a tooth to expose the white beneath. The damage doesn’t even bear thinking about!

Modern teeth whitening methods and trends

To move into modern teeth whitening is, first and foremost, to recognise the ever-growing desire to have a brighter smile for a better reflection in the mirror and a more confident persona. The rise in both professional treatments being available through most dentists, as well as the increase in high-street kits and DIY methods, only proves the popularity of teeth whitening as a trend and as a concept. 

And, to consider how teeth whitening has changed over the years, the most important decade was the 1980s, when dentists discovered the role of hydrogen peroxide in bleaching the teeth to a brighter shade of white. 

Over time, the more that dentists and dental professionals have learnt about the different types of staining and discolouration, the more accurate whitening treatments have become. The most recent innovations in the teeth whitening market are available through dental practices, and incorporate whitening agents with laser technology to both cut through and lift the stains while protecting the surface and enamel of the teeth. This, bolstered by a healthy diet and good food choices, can leave teeth looking their best for years. 

Today, teeth whitening is considered the most popular dental treatment on the market – with consumers and clients of all ages seeking a brighter, whiter smile. 

Debunking common myths around teeth whitening

With all that in mind, we wanted to share a few of the most common myths that surround the teeth whitening industry, to really highlight how opinions and beliefs have changed over the years. 

  1. White teeth equate to healthy teeth. This is untrue and is actually quite a harmful myth that can lead to underlying oral health concerns being missed or overlooked. Even the whitest teeth need to be cared for with regular brushing and flossing, trips to the dentist, and a healthy balanced lifestyle. 
  2. Teeth are only stained by foods. While food and drink is a common culprit in discolouration and the formation of stains on the teeth, it’s not the only thing that can cause the teeth to become discoloured. Age is another issue that changes the colour of the teeth over time, causing them to appear yellower. 
  3. This one is more of a ‘Did You Know’ – did you know that veneers, crowns, and dental fillings cannot be whitened? If you have any of these fixed in your mouth, then you need to understand that teeth whitening treatments will not change the colour of them – because they are not natural in composition. The ceramic used will not change colour through whitening treatment. Something to bear in mind if you’re seeking whitening treatment!
  4. Teeth whitening is permanent. Unfortunately, even a professional teeth whitening treatment will start to fade over time – with many clients requiring follow-up and top-up whitening treatments to keep their smile bright and white. However, a good approach to cleaning and maintenance will help to prolong your results for two years or more!

For more advice on teeth whitening, and to book your own whitening session, get in touch with your dentist today.