Everyday life takes its toll on our teeth. Drinking too much tea or coffee, smoking or even eating strongly coloured foods can stain and discolour them. There are toothpastes available which will help remove these stains, but they can't change the actual colour of the tooth underneath. The colour of your teeth is determined by your DNA, just like the colour of your hair or your eyes. As we get older, the dentine - the soft, pulpy substance below the enamel that protects the nerves and the blood supply to the tooth - changes colour, becoming more yellow. This is something which a stain-removing toothpaste alone cannot help.
Dentists can, though. By applying a bleaching agent to the teeth, they can whiten the teeth, giving you a sparkly white smile. Don't be tempted to buy kits over the counter or on the Internet. Not only are they not made to fit your mouth exactly, it may be that bleaching isn't suitable for you, especially if you have gum disease or crowns.
This procedure is simple, harmless and practically painless. It is important, though, to do it under your dentist's supervision.