I once asked my brother if my teeth looked white. After close examination, he informed me they looked “whiter than most”. While I was somewhat satisfied with that answer, it dawned on me they could be whiter still. I don’t want blindingly white teeth, but I do want them to look their best.
Aging is one of the most common reasons for tooth discoloration. As our teeth age the enamel wears down, taking that lovely white color away. Years of smoking and other habits can also dull your teeth.
There are tons of options for teeth whitening. Some work better than others and the costs for these vary greatly. There are also things you can do to help them remain bright and vital looking.
These are done by your dentist and can be costly. The results, however, are usually stunning. Veneers can looks as good as new for up to twenty years, and they are resistant to staining.
These are usually applied with two trips to your dentist. The process is quite simple. The dentist will wear down your teeth with a drill and correct any imperfections. He or she will then make a cast of your teeth for the veneers. Upon your second visit, your teeth will be etched on all surfaces to ensure a good bond with the veneers. The veneers are then attached and bonded to your teeth.
Bleaching By Dentist
If you can’t afford veneers, another option is bleaching. Bleaching done by a dentist will yield a better result than when it is done at home.
Your dentist will apply a hydrogen peroxide solution to your teeth. For most people, this will cause no discomfort. The dentist will then use a laser to accelerate the bleaching process. One session will last for about an hour. You may need more than one session, depending on the state of your teeth. This type of bleaching will generally have to be done every two or three years to keep your teeth white.
At Home Bleaching Kits
These kits are very convenient, as they can be done at home without a dental appointment. They are also less expensive than in office treatments, but keep in mind they will not have the same results.
One type of home bleaching kit can be purchased from your dentist. They come with a tray to insert into your mouth. Typically this tray will be filled with solution and worn on your teeth overnight for a few weeks. Your dentist will fit this tray to your teeth. You can purchase kits like these in stores, but the results may not be as good as the kit you get from a dentist.
Anther type of at-home kit comes with a small brush, which is used to brush a gel solution onto your teeth. Some are used for thirty minutes a day, while others are supposed to be used over night.
Yet another at-home kit contains adhesive strips. These adhere to your teeth for a specific period of time. These might be the easiest to use. The solution is already on the strip, and you simply apply the strip to your teeth.
Help Your Teeth Through Diet and Cleaning
A healthy, well-balanced diet will benefit your teeth the same way it benefits the rest of your system. Probably the most important diet advice would be to drink your milk. Calcium is vital to strong and beautiful teeth.
Cleaning your teeth on a regular basis will help keep them white. You should brush at least two times a day, more often if you can. Be sure to floss daily as well, as this will keep foods from deteriorating against your teeth and causing damage.
Get a check-up on an annual basis. Regular cleanings with your dentist will help keep your teeth white.
Cut down on carbonated drinks, they tend to wear away the enamel.
Smoking discolors teeth. This is yet another great reason to quit!
Use a toothpaste with the American Dental Association’s seal of approval.
Use a softer toothbrush to avoid wearing away your enamel. The same goes for your toothpaste: avoid abrasive ingredients.
Lipsticks with a blue base make teeth look whiter.
Tea, coffee, red wine, and blueberries stain teeth. Tea is the worst offender.
Whiter, healthier teeth make anyone look and feel better. Your daily habits may contribute to how often you need to whiten your smile. With a little thought and a little luck, whitening will be something you never have to do. On the other hand, some people are just genetically prone to bad teeth, no matter how well they care for them. Visit your dentist to discuss your best options.