Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental treatment because many people desire a bright, beautiful white smile. By removing years of stains and discoloration, both over the counter and professional teeth whitening treatments can brighten the appearance of your teeth. Professional whitening treatments yield the most dramatic results since they are performed by a dentist who is able to use a stronger concentration of whitener than that found in over the counter products. For this reason, people who have their teeth whitened by their dentist often leave with smiles that are about 5-10 shades whiter than before.
However, as any dentist will tell you, the results of whitening treatments do not last forever. Unfortunately, this is because your teeth will inevitably become stained again due to various factors such as diet, age, certain medications, and individual oral hygiene practices. While the results for most whitening treatments can last up to 3 years, the average is about one year. To make your whitening results last as long as they possibly can, here are five tips to keep your teeth white:
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene is not only essential for your oral health, but keeping your teeth clean also prevents stains from forming. Brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes and flossing daily helps to remove excess plaque that collects colored pigments. It is recommended to use fluoride toothpaste most of the time and a whitening toothpaste about 1-2 times per week to help maintain your smile by removing stains. Finally, you can use mouthwash once a day to help prevent plaque accumulation.
Invest in an Electric Toothbrush
It also helps to have the proper tools for your oral hygiene routine. Manual toothbrushes are effective at cleaning your teeth, however studies show that electric toothbrushes are simply more effective at removing plaque and cleaning the teeth. This is believed to be due to the fact that electric toothbrushes are programmed to use the correct brushing technique, while manual toothbrushes rely on personal technique. Since keeping your teeth clean is a key element of keeping your teeth white, an electric toothbrush may just be worth the investment.
Minimize Highly Pigmented Foods and Beverages
Over time, your teeth will eventually become stained from the various colored pigments found in the things you eat and drink. Therefore, paying attention to your diet can help increase the lifespan of your whitening results. Consuming coffee, red wine, curry, ketchup, or any foods with artificial dyes will cause your teeth to stain faster, while consuming broccoli, applies, carrots, strawberries, pineapples, and dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk will help to keep your teeth clean and maintain their white color.
Rinse Your Mouth
Still, many people are not willing to just give up eating or drinking everything with colored pigments. In those cases, the next best option is to rinse your mouth with water or milk immediately after eating or drinking something pigmented. This will decrease the amount of pigments that collect on your teeth, which decreases the severity of potential stains. Rinsing with water, milk, or mouthwash after meals also helps to prevent tooth decay by stopping enamel erosion. Some people have also opted to take this one step further and brush their teeth about 20 minutes after eating.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
Finally, it is important to maintain your whitening results with the help of your dentist. Just like daily oral hygiene is essential for keeping your teeth clean, so are semi-annual dental cleanings. During these cleanings, your dentist will clean areas of your mouth that you may have missed. Additionally, it is also important to touch up your results every now and then as they begin to fade. In most cases, your dentist will provide you with take home whitening trays that you can use from time to time for touch ups.