It’s December and that means there are people to see and parties to go to! This is a season for being your best self and flashing your best smile for all those selfies and group-pics you’re inevitably going to take. Is your holiday smile bright? Let’s get you ready for the season with these teeth whitening tips.
First, a review—Enamel is what’s pearly
As you may recall from our past posts, the majority of your teeth live below the gumline. The portion that you see, the crown of the tooth, is protected by a hard calcified tissue called enamel. Your enamel is important because it’s your tooth’s best defense against decay and destruction. For the purposes of this post, the enamel is important because it’s the surface of your tooth that you see and want to be bright and white.
Prevention for Brightness: Mind Your Holiday Eats
The holiday season features excellent food. Enjoy! You deserve it! But remember that some foods are better for your enamel than others. Coffee with friends in the morning and red wine at evening parties means that your teeth are subject to stains and damage. Yogurt, milk, cheese, greens and other high-calcium foods can fight the erosive qualities of other foods. Balance, as ever, is key. You know what else is helpful? A simple straw. If you drink a lot of cola or other staining foods, consider a straw for drinking so less staining substances make it to your teeth.
Maintenance Matters: Don’t Slack on Your Habits
Partying hard? Thinking about skipping that crucial evening brush and floss? Remember that maintenance matters. If you’re anxious about whitening, but don’t have time to go in for a professional whitening session, consider adding a whitening toothpaste to your routine. Whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing agents or stain removal chemicals (like hydrogen peroxide) to lift stains and lighten the color of your teeth without bleach. You’ll have to commit to brushing twice a day and note that progress may take days or weeks to achieve only a shade or two of whitening.
At-home Kits: A Helpful Solution
If you are looking for significant results in a short amount of time, at-home kits that can be purchased over the counter at your local drug store might be a good solution for you. These kits often contain a mild bleaching agent called carbamide peroxide, which will bleach the surface and deeper stains of your teeth. Some of these kits use brushes and others use trays. Whitening strips also use the same agent. Read instructions carefully and consult your dentist if you have questions.
In-office Whitening: Quick and Dramatic
For the fastest, most dramatic solution for your stained teeth, a visit to your dentist might be in order. Using professional-strength agents, they will be able to remove your stains most effectively and efficiently. However, it should be noted that cosmetic whitening is often not covered by your dental insurance and can be expensive.
The Fine Print: Not for Every Tooth
All that glitters isn’t gold, and sometimes brilliantly white teeth aren’t totally healthy. We want you to have healthy teeth from crown to root, not just pretty ones. If you have cavities, worn enamel, gum disease or significant decay, tooth-whitening is not for you. Allowing bleaching agents and polishers into the inner-portions of your tooth can cause sensitivity and continued deterioration, which you don’t want! Furthermore, tooth-colored fillings, crowns, veneers, bonding and bridges do not whiten. If you have them and they are stained, seek your dentist’s advice for solutions.
Bring your brightest smile to your upcoming parties. The best way to do that is to maintain good habits and maybe add a little something to your normal routine. Seek a professional if you have questions. Ultimately, your brightest smile will be your healthiest one.
Is achieving fully restored oral health on your resolutions list for 2019? Has your primary dental professional told you that you may need specialty care? We’re booking for January appointments. Give us a call today!
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