Tooth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic procedures in the country.
Steps to a Brighter Smile
It’s simple, virtually painless, and there are even some relatively cheap over-the-counter products available, but some whitening methods are more risky than others. People everywhere agree that a whiter, brighter smile is attractive, but make sure you aren’t doing more harm than good with these teeth whitening tips.
Tooth Discoloration. To begin with, different causes of tooth discoloration can affect the success rate of whitening products. Yellowing from years of smoking will be more difficult to alter than stains from the occasional cup of coffee or red wine. If you have serious stains, you may want to consider a more intensive form of treatment than whatever can be purchased at a drug store. Whitening kits contain bleaching agents, which are powerful but can pose threats to other sensitive parts of your mouth.
Natural options. Some tooth whitening options can have painful side effects, the most common of which is increased tooth sensitivity. Whitening strips can leave a residue on the edge of your gums and the surface of your enamel that affects the dentin in your teeth. You may notice sensitivity to extreme temperatures in food and drink. Natural options such as brushing with baking soda carry none of these risky side effects, and as an added bonus they are much cheaper and healthier for your teeth.
In-office vs. Over-the-counter. Professional teeth whitening services conducted by your dentist typically have a more visible result. In about an hour, you can see a dramatic improvement in the color of your teeth. While dentists use stronger agents than over-the-counter options, they are also more careful about affecting sensitive parts of your mouth. Over-the-counter products are cheaper, but you may have to invest in multiple treatments to get the desired level of change.
Preventative Action. Lastly, if you feel that tooth whitening is too extreme of a measure, you may want to consider taking steps to curb habits that cause staining in the first place. Certain foods can have an enormous impact on staining your teeth – red wine, coffee, tea – and certain behaviors like smoking or chewing tobacco. Eliminating these habits can improve your oral health and cosmetic appearance.
For more information, consult your family dentist.