Multiple factors can play into your teeth losing their bright appearance and shine. Certain foods and drinks such as wine, coffee, berries, teas, tomatoes, can stain the outer layer of your teeth, also known as your enamel. Plaque buildup can also result in giving your teeth a yellow appearance.
All toothpastes contain mild abrasives which aid in removal of surface stains. Whitening toothpastes contain additional chemical and polishing agents such as carbamide and hydrogen peroxide, resulting in a whiter smile. However, whitening toothpastes can only make your smile one shade lighter and cannot remove stains that penetrate deeper than the surface level of your teeth. When used twice a day, it can take from two to six weeks for your teeth to appear lighter.
Not only do whitening rinses brighten your smile, they also help to prevent and reduce plaque and tartar. Low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, sodium hexametaphosphate, potassium pyrophosphate, and sodium citrate, aid in removing and controlling stains. When whitening your teeth, it is essential that you keep your enamel strong. Therefore, using a mouthwash that contains pyrophosphate and other enamel strengthening ingredients is ideal.
Whitening strips can lighten your teeth anywhere between two to eight shades, depending on the type and brand of strip. Most strips require you to wear them once a day for two to three weeks. However, you should follow the directions on the back of your particular box for appropriate wear time and frequency.
The air polishing technique is used to safely remove biofilm and light (extrinsic) surface stains (coffee, berry, red wine) from teeth. Air polishing does not harm the enamel and is a gentle and painless technique. This technique does not whiten the teeth but does make your smile brighter.
In office whitening can be done chair side and may take up to one hour. This type of whitening is for patients that already have a lighter shade to their teeth and want to brighten them up without using trays, white strips or at home methods.
The prep time is fast and simple and requires the hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide gel to stay on your teeth for 20 minutes. You can do up to 4 rounds with this product. No LED light is required. This product typically can last anywhere between 6-12 months.
It is always best to consult with your Dentist or Dental Hygienist before starting the whitening process to see which option would be the best choice. If you have sensitive teeth, you should use a prescribed fluoride toothpaste 2 weeks prior to whitening and continue to use after as well. Avoid coffee, red wine, tomato sauce and smoking for 3-4 days post whitening for best results.
- Eating fiber rich foods can help to keep your teeth and gums clean. Additionally, foods containing fluoride are beneficial by helping to prevent tooth decay. View our blog “6 Best Foods and Drinks for Your Teeth,” for more information on which specific foods and drinks are most beneficial for your teeth.
- Brush or rinse your teeth immediately after consuming stain-causing beverages or food.
- Avoid tobacco, such as cigarettes and cigars, which can cause yellowing of teeth.
- Sipping through a straw can reduce the contact the drink makes with your teeth, therefore, reducing staining.
- Regular cleanings are ideal to remove any plaque and tartar buildup you may have on your teeth.