When it comes to achieving a brighter smile, teeth whitening treatment is one of the most popular solutions out there. Whether done in a dentist’s clinic or in the comfort of your home, this cosmetic dentistry procedure can give you whiter teeth.
But while the treatment itself is important, what you do afterward also affects the long-term results. Fortunately, certain practices can help you keep your smile bright long after the procedure is through.
Don’t have a clue what you must do? Below are four ways you can maintain your keep your teeth white after the procedure:
1. Be Careful What You Put in Your Mouth
Although anyone with permanent teeth can undergo teeth whitening, this cosmetic dentistry procedure is most helpful for discolored or stained teeth. While your choppers may not be as white as paper naturally, certain habits like eating highly pigmented foods and smoking can change its natural color.
Since going through the teeth whitening process costs money, you must make sure that you make the results last. A good way to do this is to be careful what you put in your mouth.
What Not to Eat and Drink
The first 48 hours following the teeth whitening treatment is critical to maintaining the result. To make sure that their pigments don’t transfer to your teeth or cause any discoloration, avoid eating foods and drinks such as:
- Coffee and tea – These brews tend to leave the teeth stained instantly. The effects become even more apparent when teeth are consistently exposed to the drinks.
- Dark-colored sauces – Red sauce for pasta, soy sauce, and even barbecue sauce can also discolor the teeth.
- Fruit juice – Dark-colored juices from fruits like cranberry can also stain the teeth.
- Dark chocolate – This type of chocolate has high levels of caffeine, which could leave the teeth stained.
- Acidic foods – Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and lime tend to weaken the enamel of the teeth, making it more prone to discolouration.
To make sure you don’t waste your money in a teeth whitening procedure, avoid consuming anything that could stain a white shirt during the first two days after teeth whitening. If you still want to drink coffee or soda, use a straw instead of drinking directly from a mug or glass. This will ensure that your teeth don’t touch the beverages and avoid their effects on your teeth color.
Besides certain foods, smoking can also cause your teeth to stain, particularly the tar and nicotine it contains. If you’re planning to undergo teeth whitening, be sure to stop smoking immediately, if you didn’t already have. Otherwise, the effort – not to mention your money – would only go to waste.
2. Try Home Remedies for Teeth Whitening
While you’ve already undergone professional teeth whitening treatment, you can still try certain home remedies to help keep your smile bright.
You can use the age-old home remedy of baking soda on a toothbrush. Using it as a toothpaste, apply the baking soda onto your teeth at home before rinsing.
Certain foods like apples, pears, celery, and carrots also trigger saliva production that can help wash away food debris from the teeth that cause staining. The same is true for sugarless gum.
One bonus from getting all that saliva is that it also neutralizes acid that leads to tooth decay. In short, more saliva means teeth are better all around.
3. Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene
Oral hygiene is crucial, regardless of the dental procedure you underwent. In fact, you need to maintain oral hygiene even if you didn’t have anything done to your teeth.
That said, the best way to keep the appearance of your teeth after teeth whitening is to stick to a good oral hygiene regimen.
Brush at least two times a day or every after eating. Proper brushing takes at least two minutes. However, most adults don’t complete 120 seconds.
You can get a feel of the length of time you need to brush by using a stopwatch. Humming tunes can also be useful to know if you need to keep the brushing.
Also, brushing requires short and gentle strokes, especially along the gumline, around crowns, fillings, and restoration, and at the back teeth.
It would also help to follow this toothbrushing sequence:
- Outer and inner surfaces (upper teeth before the lower teeth) – Tilt the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle from the gum line and brush in a sweeping or rolling motion.
- Chewing surfaces (molars and premolars) – Brush outside, inside, and on the chewing surface gently in short back-and-forth strokes.
- Tongue – Run the brush over the surface of your tongue gently to remove bacteria and leave your breath fresher.
Besides following the proper technique, your choice of dental products can also affect the length of time that your teeth can stay white. For optimum results, stick to a whitening toothpaste that is specifically made to remove deeply set stains just under the tooth’s surface. Using mouthwash and other teeth whitening products could also help.
Correct and regular flossing removes food particles and plaque in hard-to-reach areas like the gum line and in between the teeth. Remember that plaque build-up may lead to tooth decay and gum disease, so you must floss every day to keep your teeth looking better than just white.
To achieve optimal benefits of flossing, consider following the proper technique in execution, as follows:
- Cut about 18 inches of dental floss and wind most of it around each of your middle fingers. There should be at least one to two inches free for you to work with.
- While holding it tightly between the index fingers and thumbs, slide the free length up and down between the teeth.
- Then, gently curve the floss along the base of each tooth and below the gum line. Avoid snapping or forcing the floss as it may hurt the delicate tissue of your gums and cause bleeding.
- Unwind from one side to use clean sections to clean each tooth.
- To remove it in-between the teeth, use the same back-and-forth motion you did to bring the floss up. This time move it down and away from the teeth.
4. Follow Up Treatments
Depending on what method was used, you may also need to undergo follow-up teeth whitening treatments every six months to two years. This will touch-up the original treatment and would be needed more frequently if you continue to smoke or consume stain-causing foods and beverages.
A Final Word: Don’t Forget to Check in with Your Dentist
Whether you had the whitening treatment at home or a dental clinic, you still need to regularly visit your dentist. Besides polishing and cleaning your teeth more thoroughly, he can also advise on how to care for your teeth.
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