Teeth whitening is a fantastic investment in the appearance of your smile. White teeth are associated with youth and health, and can make a big difference in your self-esteem. If you’re going to put time and money into getting whiter teeth, make sure you make the most of it with these tips!
Don’t Go Back to Bad Habits After
If you’ve noticed your teeth starting to get yellow, chances are you know the culprits: the food you eat. (You should know by now that tobacco also stains your teeth, but if you’re a tobacco-user, we’ve got other things to talk about before we talk about whitening your teeth!) The most obvious tooth-staining foods are coffee, tea and red wine, but berries, soda and chocolate can also cause stains. Pretty much, if it would stain your favorite white shirt, it can stain your teeth. So don’t go right back to eating these foods after your teeth whitening treatment! Teeth can actually be slightly more vulnerable to staining right after whitening than they were before. That’s why many recommend eating only “white” foods afterward (think white bread, pasta, cauliflower, potatoes, etc.).
Know What to Expect
The biggest concern that most people have when getting their teeth whitened is sensitivity. Indeed, tooth sensitivity is the main side effect of whitening, but this sensation is temporary and usually goes away in a few hours or days. A bigger source of disappointment may be how white your teeth end up. Outside of bad habits, the biggest factor in tooth color is actually genetics. If your mom, dad, grandmother, and uncle all have bright white teeth, chances are you can too. But if the rest of your family has yellowish teeth despite never touching tobacco or coffee, the affects you can expect will certainly be whiter, but maybe not as white as a more genetically fortunate friend.
You should also know that there are certain types of tooth discoloration that whitening can’t really fix, such as fluorosis spots or internal staining that can happen as a result of taking certain antibiotics. That’s one of the reasons it’s a good idea to have a professional teeth whitening at the dentist. The dentist will be able to tell you what to expect and whether you’re a good candidate for the treatment.
Follow Up With At-Home Treatments
After teeth whitening treatment, you may be sent home with custom whitening trays and several tubes of whitening gel. This is to provide you with an opportunity to keep your pearly whites just as white over the next few weeks and months. If your teeth whitening treatment didn’t include custom whitening trays from the dentist, you can still maintain your white smile using over-the-counter treatments. However, keep in mind that these are less powerful, require more diligence and patience, and are not as good at getting around the sides of your teeth.