How to Maintain Your Smile after Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a multi-billion dollar industry, including a wide array of both professional and over-the-counter products.  Everyone wants white teeth.  There are many different ways to achieve the white smile.  This article will not go into detail of the various methods of teeth whitening, but will instead focus on how to maintain a bright, white smile.

Prevent External Stains

The simplest way to maintain the newly whitened color of teeth is to avoid the things that darken them.  You can keep the teeth whiter for longer by limiting or eliminating your intake of dark-colored foods and drinks.  The most common culprits of teeth staining are coffee, tea, tobacco, and dark sodas. 

By preventing these dark substances from contacting your enamel, you are preventing their ability to leave stains on the outermost layer of the teeth.

Remove External Stains

While avoiding stains is a simple method of maintenance, it may be difficult for some people to break a particular habit.  If you plan to continue drinking coffee or using tobacco, you need to focus on daily removing the accumulation of dark pigments on the outer layer of the teeth. 

The way to remove daily stains is by polishing the surface of the teeth well with consistent oral hygiene.  For the specific purpose of maintaining whitened teeth, you should use a whitening toothpaste, which has a mild abrasiveness.  The abrasive particles in whitening toothpaste formulations acts as fine sandpaper to polish and smooth away surface stains and irregularities.

The effect of whitening toothpaste is enhanced by an electrical toothbrush.  Make sure to double-check with your dentist and dental hygienist to confirm that your enamel is healthy enough for daily polishing.  People who suffer from gum recession, exposed roots or sensitive teeth should NOT use whitening toothpastes.

When choosing a whitening toothpaste, look for the Seal of Approval by the American Dental Association.  The presence of this seal means that the toothpaste has passed safety testing for daily use on normal enamel without damage.

Another important way to remove external stains is by committing to consistent professional teeth cleanings with your dental hygienist.  Your hygienist removes all plaque and bacteria from the teeth, and he or she also thoroughly polishes the teeth.  This final polishing step removes outer staining and leaves the enamel surface glossy smooth and more resistant to picking up new stains.

Perform Maintenance Whitening

Even if you follow the above recommendations, you could still experience some relapse in the color of your teeth.  This is a  natural process.  As teeth age, they will darken slightly, no matter what you do to the external surface. In order to counteract this natural yellowing of the teeth, you should perform maintenance whitening.

Maintenance whitening aims to keep your teeth at a nice, bright shade.  It involves fewer applications than the initial phase of teeth whitening because it is not making major color changes.  You can achieve the best maintenance of teeth whitening by using custom-fitted whitening trays and refill kits of professional strength gel from your dentist.  This method is actually very inexpensive over time. You may hear them referred to as “take-home custom whitening trays”.  These trays are durable and will last for many years.  You can purchase small refill kits of professional strength whitening gel from your dentist to use as needed. 

When you perform maintenance whitening only, you can expect a $40 refill kit to last year or more.  We typically recommend maintenance whitening for 2-3 days in a row every four to six months or as needed.  This interval may vary depending on your habits. 

More Questions about Keeping Your Teeth White?

Call Prosper Family Dentistry at 972-347-1145 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara or Dr. Summer.  We can go over each whitening option to help you choose one that will help you meet your smile goals.

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