Having professional teeth whitening treatment at your dentist’s office is a great and safe option. In-office professional whitening is efficient and highly effective way to whiten your teeth. It is a common requested procedure at my dental practice. However, there are other effective at-home methods to keep your pearly whites bright. Here’s how to whiten your teeth at home safely.
So if you have healthy gums and teeth and excellent dental hygiene habits, both in office and at-home methods are great options. In this article I wanted to give my professional thoughts on the , what seems endless, options for over-the-counter and at-home whitening aids.
Before I explore some at-home whitening practices, it is imperative to evaluate why your teeth are discolored. Whether your stains are extrinsic or intrinsic determines whether teeth whitening will work in the first place.
- Extrinsic staining comes from the food and drinks you consume. Red pasta sauce, dark berries, red wine, coffee and ketchup most commonly contribute to this type of discoloration.If your teeth have yellow undertones, you most likely have extrinsic staining. In this case, your teeth will whiten nicely.
- Intrinsic staining, on the other hand, will not whiten as well. That is because the discoloration is internal — from a dead nerve, for instance.
Intrinsic staining typically has gray undertones. In certain cases, the tooth even turns dark gray. External whitening will not restore the vibrant white enamel color if your staining is intrinsic.
- Whitening only works on natural tooth structures. If you have a crown or a filling on a tooth, this tooth will not whiten.
- You should not use whiteners if you are pregnant, nursing, or have gum problems or untreated dental decay. Take extra caution if you have sensitive teeth.
Now here are six ways to whiten your teeth at home safely.
- Whitening rinses. As easy to use as mouthwash, these rinses are packed with whitening agents. However, because users only rinse for a couple of minutes a day, teeth whiten gradually. You may not see a difference for a couple of months.
- Whitening toothpaste. These toothpastes contain mild enzymes that scrape away stains when used with a toothbrush.Keep in mind that in some cases these toothpastes can make teeth more sensitive.
- Gel strips. Instructions call for attaching strips to your teeth for one to two hours per day for up to two weeks. These gel strips are reportedly very effective, although they are a significant commitment.
- Whitening trays. Used like a mouth guard, these are plastic trays filled with whitening gel. While they whiten teeth fast, these over-the-counter trays usually are not custom-made to fit your mouth. Take caution, as they may irritate your gums.
- Electric toothbrush. There’s more movement per minute, blasts coffee and wine stains, and gets more plaque off your teeth.
- Baking soda. This common household product is great for removing stains caused by tea, coffee or red wine.
I recommend talking to a dental professional before trying any tooth whitening procedure to make sure you obtain safe and effective results.