My family's dental health is important to me. Unfortunately for me, it is not as important to my little ones. Getting my kids to brush and floss on a daily basis is almost like taking on an obstacle course. I talked to my family's dentist about different methods I could try to encourage them to brush and floss on a regular basis. Some of the tricks worked, some did not. After some experimentation and talking to other parents, I was able to come up with a lot of great tips for helping kids care for their teeth. I started this blog to help other parents get creative when it comes to their kids and dental care.
In-office teeth whitening is an easy way to transform your smile since your teeth can change as much as seven shades. While the effect of whitening can last you a long time, the procedure isn't permanent, as food debris and plaque will naturally discolor teeth. However, there are some things you can do to whiten your teeth and extend the time between your appointments. Here are some tips to extend the life of your in-office whitening.
Use the Right Mouthwash
You may be surprised to hear that mouthwash can discolor teeth, but some ingredients—like chlorhexidine and stannous fluoride—can cause light brown and yellow stains. These mouthwash products do a fantastic job at destroying plaque, but the ingredients may react with food/drink debris, which in turn cause stains on your teeth. If you want to use mouthwash, ask your dentist to recommend a brand that doesn't contain staining ingredients.
Eat the Right Foods
Certain fruits and veggies, like strawberries, apples, celery, and carrots are fantastic at keeping your teeth whiter and brighter due to certain enzymes. Chewy fruits and veggies can also increase the flow of saliva, which is your mouth's natural cleanser. Another snack you should add to your diet is yogurt. The proteins in yogurt can bind to teeth and protect the enamel from acidic byproducts that cause cavities.
Avoid Staining Foods/Drinks
Staining foods include things like tomato sauce, soy sauce, coffee, tea, and wine. While you may not want to cut out certain foods, you can curb the staining effects of your beverages by using a straw. Straws keep drinks from coming into direct contact with anterior teeth, which in turn can reduce stains.
Use Whitening Paste at the Right Time
You may not be able to use whitening toothpaste immediately after in-office whitening because your teeth will likely be more sensitive after the procedure. However, once your dentist gives you the go-ahead, you can transition from sensitive toothpaste to whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpaste contains abrasives, which remove extrinsic stains, and they contain milder bleaching agents, which can help you maintain your tooth shades for longer.
Use Touch-up Gel
After in-office whitening, you'll want to get a gel pen and/or trays from your dentist so that you can do color touch-ups at home. To make sure the whitening gel is effective, it's important to keep these products in a cool dry place. Touch-up gels do have a shelf-life, but you can often prolong their use if you put them in a fridge.
Reach out to a dentist in your area for more information about teeth whitening.