Can You Whiten Teeth at Home?
While there are teeth whitening products and kits that can be done at home that are effective, it is important to understand what the underlying cause of your discoloration or yellowing is. Tobacco use, frequent indulgence of teeth staining beverages and foods, and/or poor oral care are the most common culprits of teeth staining, however staining may also be caused by other factors, such as certain medications or due to physical trauma. After you have sourced what is causing your teeth to discolor or yellow, it may be possible to make lifestyle changes that will improve the issue.
Steps You Can Take to Prevent Staining
- Practice Good Oral Hygiene: One of the most effective methods for avoiding and correcting stained teeth is to practice good daily oral hygiene habits. Be sure that you brush and floss twice daily, ideally using a toothpaste with fluoride or whitening agents. It is also important to replace your toothbrush every three or four months.
- Avoid Staining Foods: Although it can be hard to avoid soda, tea, or a nice glass of wine, each of these beverages can play a primary role in causing your teeth to stain. Foods like tomato sauce and certain berries can also cause your teeth to stain.
- Stop Using Tobacco: There are countless reasons why it is a good idea to stop using tobacco, one of which is that use of tobacco will not only jeopardize your health, but will also stain your teeth, especially smokeless tobacco.
- Routine Dental Checkups: In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being conscious of your diet, scheduling dental exams every six months (or more frequently for patients prone to periodontal issues) will allow your dentist to remove plaque and staining substances that will brighten up your smile.
Whitening Your Teeth at Home
- Baking Soda: For patients who are interested in at-home remedies, one of the most common remedies is mixing two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide with one teaspoon of baking soda then gently brushing your teeth. While this can be an effective whitening method, it is important to limit how often you do this, as doing this too frequently can result in tooth enamel eroding.
- Whitening Toothpastes and Rinses: There are several whitening toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain hydrogen peroxide available that can have a noticeable effect on whitening your teeth in a matter of a few days. There are also whitening toothbrushes that have condensed bristles that polish your teeth without abrasion.
- Chewing Gumand Whitening Strips: Another popular whitening product are whitening strips, which are strips that contain a peroxide-gel that can be applied to the surface of your teeth. These strips are typically applied for 30-minute intervals and can be applied daily until you reach your desired level of whiteness. There are also several whitening gum products that can be chewed after meals, which will coat your teeth and prevent staining from occurring.
- Teeth Whitening Trays: Another popular treatment for teeth whitening are dental trays, which can either be purchased in stores, or preferably made by your dentist to conform to your unique dental structure. These trays can be used in the office or at home, and can contain a high concentration of bleach if used in the office, or a lower concentration if used at home.
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