Whether you whiten your teeth at-home or professionally, the key to maintaining a bright, white smile is to develop lifestyle habits that deter further discoloration. Here are five tips on how keep your teeth their whitest.
I am a huge fan of teeth whitening — especially a professional job. Not only do my patients walk out of the office with teeth that are 2-3 shades lighter on average, but with a boost in confidence, too.
Some at-home methods, such as whitening strips, can also have a big impact — even if they’re less time-sensitive than a professional procedure.
Keeping your teeth white after putting in the time, effort and money to bleach them is another game entirely. And if you’re “reactive” instead of “proactive,” it’s likely you’ll find yourself back in the dentist’s chair, or the drugstore aisle, sooner than you’d like.
That’s why I want to provide you with five tips on how to be proactive in maintaining your bright, white smile. Doing so means so your teeth will look as immaculate as possible long after you invest in a whitening procedure.
1. Use an electric toothbrush. As someone who has examined thousands of smiles, I say this with conviction: the difference between using an electric toothbrush versus a manual one is noticeable.They especially help with extrinsic staining, or staining due to external factors, like food and drinks. Although not a complete solution to whitening, it helps blast away remnants from coffee, red wine, or other edibles that stain teeth.
For children, electric toothbrushes not only do a great job of removing the sugar bugs that make their way into the pits and grooves of their teeth. They also make the entire process more fun.
And because electric toothbrushes vibrate, rotate, oscillate and break up bacteria far better than a manual one, I argue they also help prevent intrinsic staining. This means staining is internal, most likely from a dead nerve or decay.
2. Watch out for foods that stain teeth. Of course, beware of the usual suspects: red wine, coffee and black tea. But also look out for other rich-colored food culprits that aren’t as stigmatized, like ketchup and marinara sauce.
I always say that consuming anything is fine in moderation. And if you’re drinking red wine or black tea, rinse out your mouth with water afterwards to prevent staining.
3. Stick to a “white diet.” These are foods that promote bright, healthy teeth. Rice, milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, rice are among the most popular. I usually recommend patients stick to this diet up to 2 weeks after whitening.
4. Use a straw when drinking coffee or tea. When you sip directly from a mug or cup, it exposes your teeth to a staining liquid more than a straw does. So if you have to have that coffee, use a straw to prevent discoloration.
5. Floss. Think of flossing in the same way you think of a vacuum: removing the dust and dirt from your carpet makes it look cleaner, right? Whitening floss makes your teeth look brighter by removing the particles between them.
It removes food particles and plaque build-up to keep your gums healthy. And healthy gums means whiter teeth, so be sure to do it daily.
Remember, being proactive, not reactive, is key to maintaining a bright, white smile. Check in with us to see if teeth whitening is a good option for you, and to discuss even more ways to maintain whiteness after bleaching.