Professional teeth whitening is the most effective method for reversing tooth discoloration caused by aging, tobacco use, and certain beverages and foods.
Professional teeth whitening options have a high concentration of bleaching agents that penetrate tooth enamel (and even dentin) deeper than over-the-counter (OTC) methods. In-office treatment can brighten teeth by many shades in as little as one hour, with minimal tooth and gum sensitivity. As such, it’s not surprising that millions of Americans choose professional teeth whitening every year.
While professional teeth whitening can produce the dazzling pearly whites you desire, treatment can cost several hundred dollars. And teeth can lose their luster fairly quickly if you don’t follow proper care.
In this post, learn how to maintain whitening results for as long as possible to protect your smile beauty investment.
Table of Contents
1. Follow Proper Oral Hygiene
Brushing your teeth gently at least twice a day can help keep them clean and white, however, brushing too hard can erode tooth enamel and cause gum recession. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for two minutes in the morning and two minutes at night with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Avoid using blue, red, orange, or purple toothpaste because these colors can re-stain teeth quickly.
Flossing daily helps prevent white teeth from yellowing by removing food particles and preventing the buildup of plaque from your gum line. Flossing also reduces the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Just don’t floss too much because that can damage gum tissue, thereby causing gum recession and teeth that look longer.
The right mouthwash can help prevent gingivitis, gum disease, and cavities. But don’t use mouthwash with alcohol because this can damage your teeth after whitening and also increase the sensitivity effects of whitening.
2. Choose a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle
Coffee, tea, red wine, beer, fruit juices, and dark-colored sodas are among the culprits that stain teeth. If you can’t break the habit of drinking these beverages, using a straw prevents direct contact with your teeth, which can help them stay white longer.
A good rule of thumb is that any food that stains your clothing will also stain your teeth. The list is long and includes acidic fruits such as lemons, oranges, mangoes, kiwi, plums, and highly pigmented berries like blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Red meat, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, dark chocolate, and artificially colored candy can also stain teeth. Even condiments such as soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, red sauce, and colorful spices can negate the results of teeth whitening.
While giving up such a long list of enjoyable food and beverages may be impossible for most people, drinking water immediately thereafter can help prevent enamel staining because the water acts as a rinse to remove staining substances from your teeth.
Tobacco products are harmful to your oral and physical health and also stain your teeth. Nicotine and tar seep into tooth enamel through tiny pores, leaving teeth discolored. Tar causes a brown tinge, while nicotine combined with oxygen causes yellowing. If you smoke or chew tobacco, you’ll likely need to constantly touch up your teeth to maintain brightness. Dentists recommend quitting tobacco use to retain your pearly white teeth and even more important, protect your health.
3. Get Regular Dental Checkups and Cleanings
Even if you follow the best oral hygiene routine at home, it’s easy to miss hard-to-reach places in your mouth, such as back molars. During a routine exam, dentists check for early signs of tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, and any other potential warning signs of disease in your jaw and neck. It is also standard practice for dentists to take digital X-rays once a year as a diagnostic tool.
Professional teeth cleaning removes plaque or tartar from your teeth and gum line, thereby preventing harmful bacteria from accumulating and causing tooth decay and/or gum disease. This can also help extend the brightening results of teeth whitening.
4. Touch Up Your Teeth
The length of time needed between touch-ups varies, however, most people need to do so about every six months. If you still smoke often or drink teeth-staining beverages (especially daily coffee or tea), you’ll likely require more frequent touch-ups. Zoom! Teeth Whitening, KöR Whitening, and Opalescence all offer touch-up options to help maintain brightness after receiving in-office treatment.
There are three primary options to choose from for teeth whitening touch-ups.
Whitening Toothpaste: Look for a brand with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance for stain removal. These toothpastes contain additional polishing agents that are safe for your teeth and more effective at reducing surface stains.
Whitening Strips: While the best whitening strips can whiten teeth by a shade or two in as little as a few days, they can cause increased tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Although whitening strips aren’t as effective as professional teeth whitening as a primary treatment, they’re a good option for touching up your teeth.
Whitening Trays: At-home whitening trays created by dentists are customized to fit your teeth. The trays are shaped to whiten teeth evenly and limit whitening solution exposure on sensitive soft oral tissue. Beware of OTC trays because they’re typically a one-size-fits-all solution and the bleaching gel can leak out, harm your gums, and not produce the intended whitening outcome.
Maintain Your Smile Beauty
You’ve taken the first step in improving your smile beauty and confidence with professional teeth whitening. To enjoy your dazzling white teeth for as long as possible, follow the suggestions shared in this blog!