Have you recently had professional teeth whitening done and want to do everything you can to keep that bright smile? It's easier than you may think. Today, you'll walk away with five easy-to-follow, tried-and-proven tips for maintaining the appearance of your pearly whites. Best of all, they include things you can do right at home as part of your oral care routine.
What Is Professional Teeth Whitening?
Professional teeth whitening is a quick, easy, and popular way to refresh your smile. Hop into the dentist's chair and your dental professional will apply a peroxide-based bleaching gel that clears away stains and discolorations. Your dentist may use laser lighting to activate the treatment. Results are seen right away! Many patients prefer this cosmetic treatment compared to over-the-counter teeth whitening products because of the longer-lasting results.
How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?
Whitening treatment from your dentist is a sure way to achieve a stunning smile. Unfortunately, the results will gradually fade away with time. For the most part, in-office teeth bleaching usually lasts longer compared to doing at-home bleaching.
Overall, the length of time the results last before teeth start to appear dull again varies from person to person. According to New Mouth, the average time is 6 months to 3 years, depending on your level of oral hygiene and lifestyle habits.
Other factors that influence the longevity of the treatment include frequently consuming foods and drinks that stain teeth. Additionally, eating a lot of sugary foods increases the risk of tooth discoloration from plaque and tartar.
How to Keep Your Smile White After Teeth Whitening
Remember how excited you were to show off your white, bright smile after leaving the dentist's office? Unfortunately, your newly-whitened teeth can get tarnished. In fact, the mere thought of it may trigger a bit of anxiety.
As time passes, teeth can become yellowed or stained from consuming certain foods and beverages, such as coffee and wine. Aging, tooth trauma, and medication are other known causes of tooth discoloration. Luckily, you can maintain stain-free teeth with the following pro tips:
1. Brush and Floss Daily
This is the first and easiest way to maintain teeth whitening results. Daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash is the normal oral care routine. Not only does it promote stain-free teeth, but it also keeps your teeth and gums healthy.
Tooth stains can result from plaque and tartar. Plaque is a creamy, sticky film that quickly forms on teeth mostly after consuming sugary foods and drinks. Brushing and flossing in between your teeth and at the gumline helps prevent bacteria-filled plaque from hardening into tartar.
Tartar (calculus) leaves your teeth with a permanently yellow appearance and can only be safely removed by your dentist. In addition to discoloring your recently-whitened teeth, tartar can lead to cavities. Brown, black or white staining on the surface of your tooth is a sign of tooth decay.
2. Avoid Foods and Drinks that Stain Teeth
Common teeth-staining culprits such as coffee, wine, tea, strawberries, and blackberries will quickly make your white teeth appear dull-looking.
If you love your red wine or are an avid coffee drinker, it can be difficult to give up these pleasantries. In this case, you can drink these beverages using a straw to prevent the liquid from making contact with your teeth.
Another tip for enjoying the best of both worlds is to adopt the habit of brushing soon after consuming teeth-staining foods and beverages. You may also use whitening toothpaste, strips and gels, mouthwash, or charcoal whitening as an interim solution in between dental checkups.
3. Quit Tobacco Use
Long-term tobacco smoking, as well as chewing or vaping, can result in staining and discoloration of your tooth's enamel.
Tobacco contains substances called nicotine and tar that seep into the enamel covering of your teeth, causing them to appear discolored. You may notice a brown tinge or yellowing of the teeth as a result of tobacco use.
Moreover, the benefits of quitting all forms of tobacco use go beyond just maintaining white teeth. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), tobacco smoking may cause gum disease and tooth loss.
4. Keep up with Twice-a-Year Professional Dental Cleanings
Teeth whitening results typically last at least six months. Good oral hygiene at home, avoiding teeth-staining foods and quitting tobacco go a far way in helping to maintain stain-free teeth.
Seeing your dentist at least every six months provides a stronger barrier. Even with strict oral care habits, plaque and tartar still accumulate between the teeth and beneath the gum line.
Your dentist will remove plaque and tartar from those hard-to-reach places to reveal a white, bright smile. Besides enhancing the surface appearance of your teeth, regular checkups are vital for preventing gum infections, cavities, tooth loss, and oral cancer.
5. Return for Touch up treatments
You're welcome to get touch-up treatments if you've followed all the previously explained tips but notice your smile still lacks sparkle. This is normal considering teeth begin to appear dull approximately six months after the whitening procedure.
Interestingly, it's common for people to visit their dentist for a touch-up approximately every 6 months. This is particularly the case among people whose teeth easily get stained. Some dental experts recommend waiting a year before repeating the teeth whitening procedure. Your dentist will look at your dental history and assess your oral needs to help determine the best timeframe for repeat treatment.
Touch-ups to keep your smile white after teeth whitening can be performed chairside. Alternatively, your dentist may provide you with a custom-made tray and instructions for at-home whitening. Keep in mind that out-of-office bleaching is a slower process and can take several days to weeks to complete.
Call to Schedule Touch-Up Teeth Whitening Treatment
Getting your teeth professionally whitened is just one of the ways to achieve a brilliant smile. Our expert team at Liberty Family Dentistry provides a range of dental services to help you maintain healthy, white teeth. Call 812-339-2811 to request an appointment at our Bloomington, IN office today.