Teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures. Even though at-home kits make whitening easy and convenient, they often don't provide the bright smile that in-office whiteners can.
Dental patients whiten their teeth for a variety of reasons. According to the National Institute of Teeth Whitening, 90% of adults in the U.S. believe that a whiter smile makes them more attractive to the opposite sex, and 70% think that a person's smile can seal the deal when it comes to getting a new job. Patients also choose whitening for other personal factors — such as improving self-esteem or feeling more socially confident.
While professional-strength whitening can give you that celebrity smile you've been dreaming of, not caring for your teeth after the procedure can result in the same yellowed or stained teeth that you had before. What can you do to help extend the life of whitening? Take a look at the steps that can keep your teeth looking white and bright.
What you drink contributes to what your teeth look like — and not just from the inside. Dairy-rich drinks, such as milk or sugar-free drinkable yogurt, provide the calcium you need to have healthy teeth. But there are also beverages that turn your smile from strong and bright to stained and not-so-nice.
Coffee is one of the most common culprits behind teeth staining. Coffee is not only high in dark or deep pigments called chromogens but also acidic. This combination can wear away enamel and cause serious staining. If you have recently whitened your teeth, your coffee habit may put you right back to where you were before you had the in-office procedure.
Like coffee, tea can also stain teeth, making it a poor substitution for your morning cup of caffeine. Instead, switch to warm milk or stick with fluoridated water.
Watch What You Eat
A healthy diet is not just essential to your overall health. A balanced and nutritious eating plan can also add to your dental health, giving you strong teeth and gums.
While you should eat a variety of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, you also need to watch out for stain-makers. Even healthy foods can be very acidic and high in chromogens and plant-based compounds called tannins, which encourage stains by making it easier for them to adhere to your teeth. These types of food can ruin the professional-strength whitening that you just paid for.
Additionally, citrus fruits, such as oranges or lemons, are highly acidic. These can also contribute to future staining. Likewise, foods such as blueberries and strawberries are highly pigmented and can cause a resurgence of stains on your whitened teeth.
Visit the Dentist
White teeth don't always equal healthy teeth. Just because your teeth look pearly doesn't mean that they're in top shape.
Regular dentist visits can help you to maintain your smile and the white teeth that you want. Along with getting a professional cleaning, the dentist can check for possible problems to make sure that your gums are healthy.
Dental check-ups also provide a time for you to discuss future whitening needs. If you feel that your teeth aren't as white as they should be, you're wondering if your whitening is starting to fade, or your eating and drinking habits have stained your teeth again, the dentist can evaluate your smile and make recommendations for the next step. This might mean a touch-up or a repeat whitening procedure.
If you want brighter, whiter teeth right now, then contact University Dental PA. We provide in-office whitening options that can take your teeth from so-so to a superstar smile.