Even the healthiest, most vibrant smiles can dull over time. Teeth are quite porous. Any foods or beverages that can stain your clothing has the potential to discolor your teeth. The yellowing of your teeth can also be influenced by your age, tobacco use, medications, and your overall dental hygiene habits, including the use of home whitening products. Some home whitening products can damage tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to staining. In most cases, professional whitening treatments can restore or enhance the natural brilliance of your smile.
Understanding Your Whitening Options
While there are plenty of over-the-counter whitening systems that promise to remove surface stains and brighten your smile, you will likely find that these products deliver lackluster results. Most cannot whiten your teeth more than a shade or two. Some home treatment methods can even damage your teeth and gums. Just a few of the many home whitening treatment options include:
Toothpaste With Whitening Agents
Whitening toothpaste may temporarily reduce some of the stains on your teeth but will be unlikely to produce significant results. Most whitening toothpaste contains baking soda or silica. These abrasive agents can damage your enamel, irritate your gums, and trigger tooth sensitivity. Most people find that whitening toothpaste doesn’t give them the degree of whitening they are looking for.
Mouth Rinses With Whitening Agents
Many so-called whitening mouth rinses rely on hydrogen peroxide as their whitening agent. Unfortunately, these products are not in your mouth long enough to affect the brightness of your smile. While many whitening methods use peroxide in their formulations, it’s important to resist any temptation to whiten your teeth with straight peroxide. Used improperly, hydrogen peroxide can damage the dentin in your teeth, the tooth surface beneath your enamel.
Gel-Coated Whitening Strips
Whitening strips are small pieces of gel-coated plastic that mold to the surface of your teeth. The hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide provided in the gel can break up surface stains. While whitening strips are considered a safe and convenient method of tooth whitening, it is unlikely that you will get the same type of results provided by your dentist. You may then be tempted to use these products more often than recommended. The over-use of whitening strips can result in tooth sensitivity.
Over-the-Counter Tray Systems
While over the counter tooth whitening trays may seem quite similar to the type of professional whitening system offered by many dentists; they are not the same. Over-the-counter trays are not created specifically for the shape of your mouth or your bite. Ill-fitting trays can cause jaw pain and gum irritation. The gels and solutions offered with these kits will not typically whiten your teeth as safely or effectively as the professional products used in your dentist’s
Brushing With Common Foods
You may have read that you can safely whiten your teeth at home naturally by brushing your teeth with strawberries or lemons. While this method of teeth whitening may seem safe because you are using an edible product, it’s important to understand why you should avoid this practice. Strawberries and lemons are high in citric acid. Citric acid can erode or soften tooth enamel, leaving your teeth more susceptible to stains and decay.
Your Dentist Can Provide Safe and Effective Whitening Solutions
While many people spend a significant amount of money on over-the-counter whitening products, it’s important to realize that these products are unlikely to provide significant results. They can’t penetrate deeply enough to have a noticeable impact on your smile. The safest, most effective whitening options are the treatments provided in your dentist’s office. Today, many offices offer Zoom! Whitening® treatments.
In your dentist’s office, Zoom! Whitening® combines the advanced stain-removal properties of a whitening gel with the acceleration capabilities of ultraviolet light. This combination allows the whitening properties to deeply penetrate your enamel and dentin. Your teeth could be six to eight shades whiter in less than an hour.
After applying the specially formulated whitening gel, a UV light is left on your teeth for 15 minutes. The gel and the UV light will be reapplied for a total of three 15-minute sessions. Consider the following benefits:
- Your lips and gums are protected during the process
- Whitening occurs in a single session
- A post-treatment fluoride application reduces your risk of sensitivity
Protecting Your Smile After Your Zoom! Whitening® Treatment
You can maintain the brilliance of your newly brightened smile, with a Zoom! Touch up kit. Your Zoom! Whitening® home touch up kit contains a whitening gel and a comfortable custom-fit tray to help you maintain your professional results. It’s important to use your kit according to the directions provided by your dentist. Your dentist may also provide additional instructions to help you maintain your results. Some of the more common smile brightening post-treatment suggestions include:
- Brushing and flossing consistently (twice each day)
- Using an antiseptic mouthwash at least once each day
- Visiting your dentist regularly
- Drinking plenty of water throughout the day
- Avoiding dark foods and beverages when you can
- Using a straw whenever you drink dark liquids
- Waiting for at least 30 minutes after eating acidic foods before brushing
This last recommendation may require a bit of explanation. Acidic foods can soften tooth enamel. Softened enamel stains much easier. It’s better for your teeth to rinse your mouth after indulging in acidic foods, then wait 30 minutes before brushing. Waiting before you brush keeps the acid from being pushed further into the surface of your tooth and allows time for the enamel to remineralize.
Your Dentist Can Help Determine Your Best Smile Brightening Options
While most of us want a white, bright smile, not everyone will benefit from whitening treatments. Your eligibility for professional whitening will depend on the cause of your discoloration and the health of your smile. For those who would not be an ideal candidate for standard whitening treatments, crowns and veneers are often a welcome alternative.
Professional teeth whitening is a safe, painless method of enhancing your smile. For a consultation in Oceanside, CA, contact North Coast Dental Excellence. We believe that It’s never too late to dramatically transform your smile. In addition to Zoom! Whitening®, we offer a variety of services including cosmetic dentistry, family dentistry, and dental restoration.