if you’re on a mission to get that perfect Hollywood smile, but can’t quite afford the huge dentist bill of professional treatment, then a home kit is a great affordable solution.
But with so many on the market it’s hard to work out what you should be looking for and the best aftercare once you’ve got your pearly whites in check.
From special toothbrush kits like Colgate’s Max White toothbrush and pen to natural remedies like coconut oil pulling and using charcoal toothpaste, there are a multitude of options to invest in.
1. Avoid black tea, coffee, and red wine
If possible as they are likely to produce surface stain. If you can’t ditch your daily cups of tea or coffee, try to add as much milk as possible as this will reduce staining of the teeth.
2. Do not use homemade whitening remedies
Using recipes with ingredients like lemons or strawberries could actually do more harm than good. They will not whiten your teeth and can be very damaging, causing erosion to the enamel of your teeth.
3. Remember the basics
Brush your teeth twice a day, first thing in the morning and last thing at night. An electric toothbrush is best as they reduce plaque and gingivitis more than manual tooth-brushing in the short and long term.
4. Avoid fizzy drinks
Not only are sweet, sugary fizzy drinks very acidic and therefore likely to cause erosion, drinks like Coco-Cola can also stain teeth over time.
5. Choose a toothpaste with hydrogen peroxide
The whitening agent dental professionals use for teeth whitening is called hydrogen peroxide and any toothpastes without this ingredient will just remove surface stain and won’t actually whiten teeth.
6. Use whitening products before you go to bed
Because your saliva glands switch off when you sleep, it’s best to use whitening products at night.
It will mean the product has a better chance of sticking to the teeth and whiten them rather than being washed away by saliva.
Is It Safe?
Most teeth whitening kits use a bleaching agent, like peroxide. Studies show the process is safe. But check with your dentist to see if your teeth are healthy enough. You want to make sure there aren’t any underlying problems like decay or periodontal disease that could be causing your teeth to turn yellow.
Does It Work?
That depends. Generally speaking, yellow teeth tend to whiten better than teeth with gray tones. Teeth that are stained by medicines don’t tend to lighten well. And bleaching won’t work on caps, crowns, veneers, or fillings. You may need to have your teeth restored first.
What Are the Side Effects?
These products can make your teeth more sensitive. It happens when the peroxide seeps through the enamel that covers your tooth and bothers the nerve. In most cases, this feeling doesn’t last. If it does, or if your gums change color, see your dentist right away.
When Will I See Results?
You should know if it’s working in about a week. Take a photo of your smile before you use an OTC whitening kit the first time. Take a second a week later. Compare the two. If you see a change, it’s working. But make sure your goals are realistic.
If your teeth aren’t brighter after 2 weeks, call your dentist. If you’re not getting good results after one box of whitening strips, you’re not going to see better results after 10 boxes. You may need stronger treatment.
Tips to Keep Your Teeth White
You’ve spent time and money to brighten your smile. Follow these tips to keep it that way:
- Quit smoking. Tobacco is bad for your health and your pearly whites.
- Cut back on coffee, tea, cola, and red wine. “Anything you would get yelled at for spilling on a white tablecloth will stain your teeth. Sip through a straw to bypass your front teeth
- Keep your mouth healthy. Brush your teeth well at least twice a day. Use a whitening toothpaste. Don’t forget to floss.
- See your dentist. Get your teeth cleaned twice a year to help them stay white and healthy.
What’s the Best Option?
It depends on your goals and how much time and money you want to spend. the American Dental Association in Cleveland, OH, says to opt for a well-known brand you can buy from a popular store or online. Some of your options include:
- Whitening toothpastes and rinses: These are like cleansers that lift surface stains from your teeth. They are safe and moderately effective, but they aren’t likely to give you the whitening results you’re looking for. He adds that toothpastes and rinses help keep your teeth white after your dentist bleaches them.
- Whitening strips: You apply these to the surface of your teeth for a certain amount of time. Hydrogen peroxide lifts the stains. You can expect your teeth to lighten about five shades.
- Paint-on or brush-on formulas: You apply these before bed for 2 weeks.
- At-home trays: If you get them from your dentist, she’ll make a mold of your teeth to create fitted trays. She’ll give you a strong bleaching gel to use at home. Over-the-counter systems work the same way. But they can cause irritation and may not work as well. Some OTC kits come with a bendable mouthpiece. These work better than one-size-fits-all trays. The bleaching gels that come in these kits aren’t as strong as the ones you get from a pro.
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions, so get an appointment today.