How to Care for Your Teeth After a Whitening Treatment
If you ask people what they would most like to change about their smile, they usually reply that they’d like whiter teeth. The colour of your teeth is one of the most immediately visible ways for strangers to tell you to take care of yourself. For coffee, dark chocolate, and red wine lovers, keeping your teeth a brilliant white can be a daily challenge.
Certain foods and habits have a tendency to stain teeth if indulged in regularly. Smoking and consuming darkly pigmented foods and drinks will do this. Depending on your own oral health and hygiene routine, the regularity of your dental check-ups, and your genetics, your teeth could take on a depressing yellow, brown, or grey hue. If you’d like to get your smile back to a youthful, healthy white then teeth whitening treatments may be an option for you.
Teeth Whitening Treatments
There are many levels to the intensity of teeth whitening products and treatments you can choose, which vary greatly in price and effectiveness. They include:
- Stain removal toothpaste, which is the cheapest option but offers the least dramatic results
- Over the counter whitening strips and pastes, which generally work better than toothpaste but do not have the same clinical strength of whitener as a professional treatment
- At-home treatments administered by a dentist, which usually takes several visits
- In-office bleaching, which offers the most dramatic result and usually only takes one visit
Teeth whitening works by delivering bleach to the whitened teeth it’s surface (either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide). These bleaches target stains and break them up into smaller pieces, making the colour of the teeth more pronounced. Your teeth look brighter and whiter as a result.
How to Keep Your Teeth White After Treatment
What you do immediately after a teeth whitening treatment dictates how well the results will last. The first twenty-four hours after treatment are especially important. Here are some rules for post-treatment care, in addition to the guidelines your dentist advises:
- Avoid drinks that leave dark stains such as coffee, red wine, fruit juice, dark sodas, beer, and black tea
- Avoid foods that leave dark stains such as soy sauce, cured meats, chocolate, and any kind of fruit
- No smoking, although limited use of e-cigarettes is ok
- Avoid coloured toothpaste and mouthwashes, for example, red or blue
These guidelines can be summed up as “if it would stain a white shirt, it will stain a white tooth”. Whatever passes through your lips after a tooth whitening treatment should be light coloured and a soft, non-acidic texture. Some foods that fall under this description and would be good choices post-treatment include:
- White cream sauces
- White cheese
- Skinless chicken breast
- Peeled potatoes
- White yogurt
- Clear coconut water
- Clear alcohol with light mixers, such as gin and tonic or vodka soda
After the first twenty-four hours, try to avoid teeth staining foods for as long as you can. This will greatly impact your teeth whitening after care and how long the results of your treatment last. If you go right back to your teeth-staining habits then you’ll notice the whiteness of your teeth starting to dull after only three months. If you keep up your good habits your teeth whitening should last for a year or more.
Some tips for ongoing care include:
- Brush your teeth with water or white toothpaste immediately after eating or drinking anything that stains
- Follow a good daily oral routine, including brushing, flossing, and mouthwash every morning and night
- Consider whitening touch-ups every six months or so for best results if you smoke or drink a lot of dark beverages
Do Whitening Treatments Damage Your Teeth?
Professional teeth whitening does not damage the enamel, so you don’t have to worry about hurting your teeth with too many appointments. However, excessive at-home, whitening toothpaste and treatments could have a detrimental effect on your teeth enamel, and after a while, it will become apparent that your white teeth are due to cosmetic enhancements. If your teeth are blinding white beyond a natural level it can be distracting and unnerving to look at.
Since dental whitening is not usually covered by insurance it’s in your best interest to learn how to maintain your teeth whitened results for as long as possible. If you’re in a profession where white teeth are an asset, such as acting or sales, this is especially true.
A whiter smile is a huge confidence boost for anyone, whether or not they flash their pearly whites for a living. A dull, yellow smile can add years to your appearance and gives away any unhealthy habits you partake in.
Teeth whitening is safe, quick, effective, comfortable, and affordable. If you’re uncomfortable with your smile and feel your confidence would benefit from having a brighter, whiter smile, contact your local dental clinic about their various teeth whitening procedure and options.
For more information about teeth whitening, call Dawson Dental at 1-855-406-2742 or visit our contact page here.
Frequently Asked Questions
When can i brush my teeth after professional teeth whitening?
It’s best to wait at least 4 hours after a professional teeth whitening appointment before brushing your teeth. This is so the hydrogen peroxide that was used during the procedure has time to fully penetrate and whiten your teeth.
What toothpaste to use after teeth whitening?
It’s best to use a toothpaste that is specifically designed for whitening, as these have special ingredients that can help maintain your newly whitened teeth. Avoid coloured toothpastes, such as red or blue, as these may stain your teeth.
Can I smoke after tooth whitening treatment?
It is not recommended to smoke after a teeth whitening treatment. The tar and nicotine in cigarettes can discolour your newly whitened teeth and may even reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. It’s best to quit smoking all together or at least limit your intake in order to maintain whiter teeth.
How long does teeth whitening last?
It depends on the type of whitening treatment you choose, but generally professional teeth whitening should last for at least a year if you maintain your oral care routine and avoid foods and drinks that stain your teeth. Specific lifestyle factors such as smoking or drinking alcohol regularly can reduce the effectiveness of the whitening treatment, so it’s best to limit these activities as well. Additionally, some people may require more frequent whitening treatments if they have more severe discoloration. As always, speak to your dentist to find out the best treatment plan for you