Ask an Expert: At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits


Anyone with a social media account has seen all those 'celebrity' (I'll use the term lightly) hawkings of at-home teeth whitening kits. Whether it's light-pulsing mouthpieces or activated charcoal (I still do not know what this means), there's loads of new methods on the market to get you that Hollywood smile in your own bathroom. 

But are they any good? And, more importantly, are they doing you any damage? If one person knows the answer, it's celebrity dentist Dr Richard Marques. Known in the industry as 'the king of smiles', he runs Wimpole Street Dentist in central London. He does Rita Ora's gnashers - and also Joey Essex's, so if anyone has felt the wrath of these whitening kits, it's Dr Marques. 

I've been super self-conscious of my teeth since I had the front one knocked out a few years ago, and although it's fixed now, the discolouration is something that's bothered me for a while. I'd been considering trying one of these treatments, so before I embarked on my whitening odyssey, I wanted to ask Dr Marques the questions we all should probably know the answers to before we go spending a month's rent on one of those in-your-mouth laser things (which, incidentally, I shall be trying next month so let's see how that goes shall we!)... 

Hi Dr Marques! Let's get straight on with it... What’s your opinion on at-home whitening kits?

When selected carefully to ensure they are bought via a regulated company, at-home whitening kits can be a good, cost effective method of whitening. However, they simply cannot achieve as white of a smile as you can get when having professional whitening done by a dentist. Charcoal products are great as they are 100% natural and can also strengthen gums, remove toxins from the mouth and absorb bacteria. You only need to use charcoal products two to three times a week to see results too (there is a small chance it could wear away the tooth enamel in the long-term as it’s slightly abrasive if using more often than this). The one problem with charcoal is it can get rather messy though! When whitening with charcoal products I recommend using the Diamond Whites Black Edition Range.

What foods should we be avoiding for a Hollywood smile?

For a Hollywood smile you should eat white foods and avoid pigmented foods such as beetroot and blueberries where possible. Food including chicken, rice and fish are a great way to not stain your teeth. You should also drink water or milk because water is a natural cleanser, whilst the calcium in milk will help strengthen tool enamel and your jaw bone. Avoid red wine and dark drinks which can stain your teeth and replace them with clear drinks such as white wine, tonic water or lemonade. Remember, fizzy and alcoholic drinks contain high amounts of sugar which can damage your teeth so be sure to drink in moderation.

Is there anything we can do at home to ensure a great set of gnashers?

There is no magic trick - it’s really important to have a healthy daily dental regime. So, always brush twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening for two minutes and perform interdental cleaning between the teeth at least once a day - you can use interdental brushes or electric flossers for this. Don’t forget to use a mouthwash after brushing too! A non-alcoholic, fluoride containing mouthwash is far better than rinsing with tap water, which washes the toothpaste and fluoride away. I would also recommend using a whitening toothpaste to keep your teeth looking bright and white, I've got my own Super Strong Whitening Paste that I use so obviously I'd recommend that! Drinking through a straw is a really simple and great tip to minimise damage to the teeth and staining too.

What products do you use at home?

I always use an electric toothbrush as they can remove up to 70% more plaque than manual brushes! I personally use the Philips Sonicare Black Diamond. I also always use my Natural Tooth Whitening & Breath Freshening Mouthwash after brushing and rinse with coconut oil as it removes plaque and toxins from between the teeth.

What’s your opinion on veneers?

Veneers are one of the most popular dental treatments requested by my patients and give an amazing smile makeover in a short period of time. They can now be 3D printed too which greatly improves the accuracy, appearance and fit of the new teeth giving an even more fantastic smile makeover result! It is wonderful to see the confidence and happiness that veneers can give to someone and they can truly transform a smile.

So that's that then! Eat chicken, drink vodka and be merry. I think that's what he said anyway...

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