How Long Do Teeth Whitening Results Last?

As cosmetic dentists in Thunder Bay, we see patients every day who are interested in cosmetic treatments for their smile. One of our most popular cosmetic services is teeth whitening. A bright, white smile is many people’s dream since they help you stand out and look more attractive. But how long do they last? This blog post will answer the question of how long whitening results last for your perfect smile!

When it comes to answering the question of how long teeth whitening results last, there is no one-size-fits all answer. Therefore, we will evaluate a few key concepts to help you answer the question of how long YOUR teeth will stay white.

In this article:

  • How Teeth Whitening Works
  • Factors that Affect Whitening Results

How Teeth Whitening Works

teeth whitening with light

First and foremost, it is important to understand how teeth whitening works. When you have your teeth whitened by a cosmetic dentist, a whitening agent will be applied to the surface of your teeth. In some cases, an activating light may also be used. This whitening agent is then absorbed into the enamel and dentin layers of your teeth.

The whitening agent triggers a chemical reaction that breaks apart discolored molecules, which essentially dissolves stains from the enamel and dentin. For the first 24 hours after its application, the whitening agent will continue to “whiten” your teeth by removing stains. After 24 hours, it is completely absorbed by the body and is no longer active.

Because of the way teeth whitening procedures work, they are only able to remove existing stains and do not provide protection against future stains. In simple terms, this means that teeth whitening results do not last forever since your teeth will continue to stain after the treatment. On average, most people experience whiter teeth for about a year, however results can last anywhere from six months to three years.

Factors that Affect Whitening Results

At this point, you are probably wondering why some people’s whitening results only last six months, while others can last up to three years. This is due to the various factors that affect whitening results, including:

colored condiments
  • Diet:  Many foods and beverages contain colored pigments, but some foods and beverages are more likely to stain your teeth than others. For example, coffee, red wine, soy sauce, tomato sauce, and berries are very common teeth whitening enemies! These types of food or drink can leave behind pigmented stains that will remain on the surface of your teeth long after you finish eating/drinking.
  • Tobacco Use:  This is not news to most people, but tobacco use can have a negative affect on your oral and overall health. Tobacco use, and specifically smoking tobacco (cigarettes, cigars), can stain your teeth yellow over time.
  • Habits: Some habits will make it easier for stains to stick around on the surface of your teeth than others. For example, if you drink a lot of coffee or red wine throughout the day, those pigments will be much easier to stain your teeth than if you only drink these types of beverages every now and then.
  • Oral Hygiene: Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day are essential to maintain your whitening results and prevent staining. Removing plaque from the surface of your teeth prevents tartar from forming, which decreases yellowish stains. Not to mention, brushing or rinsing after meals can decrease the amount of pigments that are absorbed by your teeth.

In conclusion…

…how long teeth stay white after being whitened depends on a variety of factors, including your diet and habits. Whitening results can last anywhere from six months to three years, but tend to average about a year. If you want to maintain whiter teeth for as long as possible, make sure that you brush twice a day and floss once a day. You should also try to avoid tobacco, as well as foods or drinks with pigments like coffee, red wine, soy sauce, tomato sauce, or  berries which can leave behind discolored stains.  If you’re looking for cosmetic dentistry help in order to have the smile of your dreams then contact our cosmetic dentist today!


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Dr. Sanket Upadhyay


Dr. Sanket completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree in India in 2011 and obtained his Canadian dental license in 2016. He is a member in good standing with the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, the Ontario Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Sanket regularly pursues continuing education through dental conferences and courses to enhance his knowledge and be at the forefront of advances in dentistry.

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