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Professional tooth whitening and dental bleaching can be significantly more effective than over-the-counter home remedies, which is a major reason why the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) says in-office teeth whitening treatments have increased more than 300 percent over the past five years.

From celebrities with gleaming grins to a plethora of ads for home bleaching kits, teeth whitening is a popular treatment for good reason.  But the level of white you can achieve may be limited by both genetic and lifestyle factors that play a major role in the color of your teeth. “The starting condition of the enamel is a major determining factor in how white the teeth can get,” says Atlanta Cosmetic Dentist, Dr. Ronald Goldstein.

You’ll want to learn about the pros and cons associated with the level of bleaching you can realistically achieve whether using in-office dental bleaching or at-home treatment teeth whitening options.

What causes tooth stains?

Colored foods and drinks can discolor your teeth over time. “Anything that can stain a white shirt can stain your teeth,” says New York cosmetic dentist Irwin Smigel, DDS. “Coffee, tea, cola, tobacco, red wine and blueberries all contribute to staining.” Along with the aging process itself, smoking can also lead to discolored teeth. “Smoking leaves behind a film of sticky tar that yellows teeth,” he adds.

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