Do I Need Whiter Teeth?


I downloaded my photos from my camera from the AICI Conference  in Irvine, SoCal (this is Karen of a Certain Age and me), and I noticed something, my teeth are not very white.  I get compliments on my teeth here in Australia, but I don’t think they make the grade in LA.   They are stained, not from coffee (don’t drink it or tea), but from some medication I took as a child and everyday wear and tear.  Brown teeth are offputting, unclean and look unhealthy, but so is the fake ultrabright smile to me.

Also, whiter teeth look younger – our kids have gorgeous white teeth, they go brown with age.

So, I got some teeth whitening gel from the chemist (drugstore) and this is the result of 3 days – my eyeteeth certainly look whiter and my teeth look cleaner and fresher.  Here is the before pic with an after pic so you can see the difference already.  My eye teeth are the ones you notice the biggest difference to, they are the most stained.

How white is too white?  I would say that if your teeth are whiter than the whites of your eyes, they’re too white.  What do you think?


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  • You have lovely teeth, and they look fine just as they are. I don’t like the flourescent white teeth you often see on some TV shows now – they look so unnatural.

    I have always had a ‘bad smile’, it something I’m very sensitive about. When I was 2 my front tooth got knocked out when my pram fell over (my brother was swinging on the handlebar) and when I was older the adult tooth didn’t grow. So I’ve had a mixture of a false tooth, then a badly fitted crown which is still in place and quite yellow. I recently went to see about getting it changed but was told the cost was very high. So I’m stuck with it for now. As a result, I can’t whiten the rest of my irregular teeth because the crown will stay the same yellow colour it is now. I’m very self conscious about it, always have been.

    Sorry, that was an essay.

  • notSupermum – I have a broken front tooth which is filled with porcelain – I have to have it replaced about every 20 years (due sometime soon!). I’ve noticed that it’s a bit yellower than the rest of my tooth, but not so noticeable that a bit of whitening will make it stand out too much.

    It’s amazing how important teeth are – I’ve noticed that so many people who have cracked or broken or uneven teeth won’t smile with their lips open.

  • This is an important post. People here in Scandinavia now also want to have ultra white teeth, just like the Americans do. Luckily most dentists don´t favor them, and if I´m honest, I don´t either. I wish to have a personal color,one or two teeth might have have a different shade. As long as I know that I have taken care of my teeth ( regular brushing ) as well as I can, and my gums are healthy, I´m happy. Your smile is good enough for me too!

  • I did just this thing last year and feel good about it even though it wasnt a drastic change- it does make a difference!

  • I think your teeth look fine, actually.

    Mine got stained on the bottom from wearing braces in high school, and everywhere else from decades of coffee drinking. As I also have a layer of resin on the front ones (a former dentist did this to fill in a chip and keep me from losing enamel) I can’t bleach or do any of the current whitening treatments, so I may bite the financial bullet and do porcelain veneers sometime in the next few years.

    But as my denstist says, “you don’t want teeth that look like Chiclets!”

  • I love your new, drug store whitened teeth. I do that every once in a while (to undo the coffee and red wine damage) and I think it works awesomely well. I think too white is a really dicey idea. LA teeth can go too far, IMO. Of course, I’m not referring to Karen’s gorgeous smile!

    PS Gotta be careful with the store kits if you have certaindental work because it can stain your teeth different colours that will be challenging to correct – or so I’ve heard…

  • I am totally with you on the LA tooth whiteness making you question your smile. When I moved here I was all about having my teeth whitened, but now I feel like I have to have them done. I get embarrassed when I smile in a room full of actors and models(or wannabes)because my teeth are so big. I think that your home whitening looks great! I think I’ll have to try it before I go for the laser.

  • Metscan – I’m glad Australian’s aren’t into the ultra white – but we do like clean – and I think when they get a bit brown from wear and tear it’s worth a whiten!

    Christina Lee – I think this is a subtle change bringing them back a few shades which is nice.

    Deja – I wore braces too – maybe that’s where some of the staining came from?

    K.Line – my teeth are naturally different colours – all the same colour is probably more unnatural than a bit of variation?

    Cosmo – I can understand – I have a very toothy smile (as you can see from my photos), so it’s something I’m well aware of.

  • I have a friend who keeps a fairly good tan — and who obviously did a huge whitening all at once. It looks awful to me but I am sure she is quite happy with it. I see no problem with a little whitening but really dislike to see someone go white-white. It looks very fake.

  • Imogen I really think that stuff whiten all your teeth well.
    What was the brand – I might give it a go too!

  • They look good as far as I can tell on my monitor. There is a blinding bleached white that makes peoples’ teeth look false- see Regis Philbin. I have one of the custom-made kits from my dentist but only use it very occasionally mostly because I simply forget.

  • Duchesse – I think some of that blinding white are porcelain veneers, not real teeth bleached – I don’t know how white you could get a real set of teeth!

    I’m pretty happy with the result.

  • That’s spooky, I just used my whitener the other day as well! I have one of the custom sets. Like everyone else who has commented, I don’t like the scary white either, but a shade or so lighter can really freshen up your face.

  • Imogen, I think your teeth looked fine to begin with – it helps that you have such straight teeth and a gorgeous smile. I don't think it would look natural to go much lighter (if at all) than you already have with the whitestrips, but they look great now!

    My teeth are just naturally yellow – I think I've inherited it from my dad, whose teeth can pick up a stain from a glass of red wine. I probably *should* use whitestrips more often since the yellow is noticeable, but I'm reluctant to since it makes my teeth painfully temperature sensitive. Either way, after enduring years and years of braces as a child & teen, I'm not about to stop smiling. 🙂

  • Your teeth look great either way because they look healthy and straight and I certainly did not notice your teeth being darker than anyone else’s. That being said, however, I think the results of your bleaching strips look great! Perhaps because I am an American.

    I have custom bleach trays and use them for 3 hours a day, 4 days in a row about twice a year. The cost of the trays and the first round of bleaching gel was about $300US eight years ago. I buy a new kit of bleach every time I have a cleaning, and that runs about $40US. I find the custom fit of my trays much less annoying than trying to keep the drugstore variety stuck to my teeth.

    I defintely know some bleaching addicts with glow-in-the-dark teeth, but my gums get sore if I do it too often, so it’s sort of a self-regulating mechanism.

  • A blue white (which I’ve seen) is completely fake, that’s definitely too white. I use baking soda, it works like a charm, just take a thin cloth, we it, dip it in soda and scrub, scrub, scrub!

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