If you’re like most Americans, you probably crave that bright white, 100 kilowatt smile. As the team behind a skilled and passionate Asheville dentist, we totally get it―after all, teeth are our thing!
So how should you go about whitening in a safe and effective way? Here are some important things to keep in mind.
Avoid Stain-Causing Foods and Drinks
Red wine and coffee are the most frequently named culprits, but there are far more drinks and foods out there that you should avoid, enjoy in moderation, or (in regard to the drinks) sip with a stainless steel straw!
- white wine (yes, any type of wine can stain, sadly)
- barbecue sauce, marinara, or any other red sauce
- caffeinated tea
- most desserts and other sugar-laden items
Are you looking at this list in surprise and/or sadness? Don’t get down! If you do enjoy wine, coffee, or soda, give your teeth a thorough rise within a half hour of consuming your beverage. This may sound counter-intuitive, but don’t brush! Brushing can actually scrub the enamel-eroding acid present in these tasty offenders further into your teeth.
No matter what you do, don’t smoke cigarettes! Smoking will stain your teeth quickly and seriously, not to mention all the other negative impacts on your health.
Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Stains
Though some foods and beverages may contribute to extrinsic stains, it is possible to improve this type of stain or even remove it entirely. You can have the white smile of your dreams without forgoing your favorite foods and drinks; it just takes some extra intentionality.
Intrinsic stains, on the other hand, are far more challenging. These stains can typically be traced back to childhood, as they can arise from taking antibiotics while your teeth were still developing. If you have intrinsic stains, talk to your dentist about the best plan of action.
Whitening Toothpaste and Gum
Certain toothpastes and gums are sometimes touted as whitening, and they do provide some mild benefits. While they don’t compare to other whitening treatments, they serve preventative purposes. For example, ingredients like titanium dioxide and baking soda help avoid stains from forming.
Toothpastes and chewing gums do not actively bleach, but they certainly won’t hurt. There are some toothpastes that are an exception: they have bleaching ingredients, but they are typically only available from your dentist.
White strips are a good happy medium for a lot of people, as they provide quality whitening for the price when used correctly over time. They work by utilizing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to brighten the teeth and break down stain-causing bacteria that cause stains.
One con associated with white strips is that they only whiten the surface of the teeth, and the effects are limited compared with in-chair whitening or take-home whitening trays.
Want to see some real results? Take-home whitening trays are popular for a good reason.
These kits, which include trays and whitening gel, are higher in price than whitening strips, usually over $200. You can purchase custom trays at your dentist’s office and over-the-counter trays from some pharmacies. Typically, custom trays are more expensive but also produce better results.
Laser Whitening (Chair Side Whitening)
Treat yourself to the best and easiest whitening option out there! You can brighten your teeth four shades in only a few minutes when you chose laser whitening.
Your dentist will use a custom gel in a tray or dental dam, then utilize a laser to expedite the effects of the gel. While this is the most effective type of whitening, those with sensitive teeth should use caution. Chairside whitening uses higher levels of chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, which can cause increased tooth sensitivity for 24 hours after the procedure. Take-home whitening trays typically use lower levels of hydrogen peroxide and are therefore a more conservative option. Talk to your dentist about what he or she thinks would be best for your unique needs.
Come See Us At Rebol Dental
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are an important part of maintaining a white smile, as healthy teeth provide the best foundation for any whitening treatment.
Speaking of health, you may have heard the common misconception that bleaching your teeth is dangerous. This misinformation comes from older methods of bleaching, which are no longer used today. That said, you do need to make sure you don’t have any underlying disease or dental health issues before beginning any kind of whitening treatment.
If you are interested in a check-up, a cleaning, or learning more about whitening treatments, please complete our an appointment request form here. We look forward to meeting you!