Expert advice on achieving a brighter smile

A Critical Overview of Teeth Whitening Tips for a Brighter Smile

Teeth whitening is a common cosmetic dental procedure that has gained significant popularity in recent years. According to a study conducted by the American Association of Orthodontists, almost 90% of dental patients requested tooth whitening. Patients have several options when it comes to teeth whitening, ranging from simple and inexpensive methods to more complex procedures that require additional time and expense. This article discusses 11 teeth whitening tips for a brighter smile.

Smoking: A Major Disadvantage to Teeth Whitening

The nicotine and tar in cigarettes are detrimental not only to the overall health of smokers but also to the health of their teeth. The stains caused by smoking deepen over time and are difficult to remove. Although smokers can benefit from teeth whitening options, smoking negatively impacts the success of such treatments.

Limiting Certain Beverages

Certain beverages, such as coffee, tea, fruit juice, soda, and wine, contain ingredients like tannin, dyes, and phosphoric acid that can yellow teeth over time. While individuals may not want to give up their favorite beverages, they can limit their impact by drinking them in one sitting, brushing or drinking water immediately after, or using a straw to avoid prolonged contact with teeth.

Avoiding Sugary Snacks

Sugary snacks, like candy and chocolate, increase the bacteria in the mouth that destroy enamel over time. Sticky candies, such as caramels, toffee, and peanut brittle, can have a more significant negative impact. Individuals who cannot resist sugary snacks should try to limit them and brush their teeth immediately after consumption.

Certain Foods and Beverages Can Help

Although no extensive studies exist to prove that certain foods and beverages are effective in whitening teeth, some contain malic acid, which may help whiten teeth, while others can dissolve the layer of salivary protein that bacteria can adhere to and discolor teeth. Apples and cauliflower encourage saliva production when eaten, which helps wash away food debris and damaging acids. Milk may also lighten enamel because it contains lactic acid, and clear or green tea increases saliva production.

Daily Brushing and Flossing

Brushing and flossing every day helps maintain a brighter smile by eliminating residue from the foods and drinks an individual consumes. Flossing helps remove food particles that could lead to plaque and tartar, contributing to discolored teeth.

Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

Toothpaste brands often carry their own teeth whitening options, which contain peroxide, baking soda, activated charcoal, and mild abrasives that whiten and polish teeth. While such toothpaste helps reduce staining caused by substances such as coffee, tea, wine, and smoking, they lack the power to remove deeper discolorations.

Over-the-Counter Whitening Trays: A Waste of Money

Over-the-counter whitening kits available in stores and online have low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and a non-custom-fitted structure that means the gel can encounter gums, causing discomfort.

Custom-Fitted Teeth Whitening Trays

Custom-fitted teeth whitening trays, available at a dentist’s office, have higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide than non-custom trays and are more effective in whitening teeth while reducing the amount of peroxide that touches the gums. They require two visits to a dentist to create the trays and ensure a proper fit.

In-Office Teeth Whitening: The Best Option

In-office whitening is the most effective teeth whitening method. Available at a dentist’s office, in-office whitening is comparable in cost to custom trays but offers a faster way to brighten teeth. During the procedure, which takes about 90 minutes, a dentist applies a hydrogen peroxide gel to teeth, followed by a special lamp that aids