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Almost half of American adults consider a bright white smile the most important component of the proverbial first impression.
The popularity of professional teeth whitening services is thus unsurprising. According to some estimates, more than 45 million Americans have pursued professional whitening services.
Professional whitening is a safe and highly effective way to improve your smile. However, choosing professional whitening services still requires at-home maintenance.
Read on to find out how to keep teeth white after professional cosmetic dentistry procedures.
How to Keep Teeth White
Teeth whitening aftercare requires being proactive and vigilant about how you treat your teeth. This means paying attention to your diet and dental hygiene routine.
1. Brush Twice, Floss Once
It goes without saying that white teeth are healthy teeth, and healthy teeth require regular cleanings.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing the teeth for two minutes twice daily. It also recommends flossing once a day.
Regular brushing and flossing can prevent food and drink from staining the teeth. They can also help keep teeth white by removing bacteria and plaque.
Finally, proper dental hygiene prevents tooth decay, which can discolor teeth and cause a host of other cosmetic and health problems.
2. Brush with an Electric Toothbrush and Whitening Toothpaste
If you want to up your dental hygiene game, invest in an electric toothbrush and opt for whitening toothpaste.
Electric toothbrushes themselves don’t whiten teeth, and they cannot remove internal stains. No toothbrush or toothpaste can. Therefore, they are not a substitute for professional teeth whitening.
However, electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque and external stains than regular brushes. Thus, they can be a helpful part of your teeth whitening aftercare routine.
Whitening toothpaste, too, can help you maintain your bright white smile.
Compared to regular toothpaste, whitening toothpaste tends to use more abrasive ingredients, like silica and baking soda. Along with vigorous brushing, these ingredients can remove surface stains.
Keep in mind, though, that when used excessively, whitening toothpaste can damage the enamel of your teeth and irritate gums. Some people also experience tooth sensitivity when using whitening toothpaste.
It’s wise, therefore, to limit your use of whitening toothpaste to a few times a week. Also always choose a whitening toothpaste that has the ADA seal of approval.
3. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Another component of a healthy dental hygiene routine is the preventative checkup. You should visit your dentist for a professional cleaning and checkup every six months.
While an electric toothbrush is stronger than a manual brush, your dentist’s tools are more powerful still. At your regular checkup, your dentist will clean your teeth and remove tartar that your at-home cleanings simply can’t.
Your dentist will also look for—and, if necessary, treat—early signs of periodontal disease and decay.
4. Limit Consumption of Foods That Stain Teeth
The obvious culprits when it comes to discolored teeth are coffee, black tea, and red wine.
However, other intensely colored foods can also stain teeth. These include:
- Sports drinks
- Dark-colored fruits and fruit juices
- Marinara and other tomato-based sauces
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
Beyond this list, you can also keep the t-shirt test in mind. If a substance can stain a white t-shirt, it can stain your teeth.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able—or want—to avoid the above food and drink options entirely. However, you can cut back on your consumption of them.
You should also remember to brush promptly after eating or drinking substances that can stain your teeth. At the very least, rinsing your mouth with water after a meal can limit the damage.
Finally, you can try using a straw to drink intensely colored liquids, like coffee, Coke, or tea.
5. Enjoy Food and Drink Options That Promote Healthy Teeth
While certain foods stain teeth, other foods help you maintain your bright smile.
Dairy products are among the best options to promote dental health and whiter teeth. So after a whitening procedure, fill your diet with milk, cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
Fruits and vegetables, like apples, pears, celery, and carrots, are also ideal. These foods trigger your salivary glands. Saliva neutralizes acid and helps remove food particles and other debris that can cause stains or decay.
Finally, eggs, poultry, salmon, and other lean meats and fish contribute protein and other nutrients that keep teeth strong.
6. Chew Sugarless Gum
Enjoying sugarless gum is another way to promote saliva production. While it’s no substitute for brushing, chewing sugarless gum also helps keep teeth clean.
7. Quit Smoking
Smoking is among the worst culprits when it comes to discolored teeth.
Tobacco leaves brown stains on the surface of teeth. Over time, these stains penetrate more deeply and become more difficult to remove.
Smoking also contributes to gum disease, bad breath, and countless other health problems, including cancer.
If you’ve invested in professional teeth whitening, such as KoR Whitening, therefore, it’s important, too, to invest in your overall health by quitting smoking.
Kicking the habit will not only protect your bright white smile. By reducing your risk for serious illness and death, you’ll also have more reasons to use it.
8. Be Aware of Medications and Other Chemicals That Stain Teeth
Certain medications and other chemicals can lead to discolored teeth. These include:
- Certain antihistamines, antipsychotics, and blood pressure medicines
- Excessive iron
- Excessive fluoride
- Certain ingredients, such as chlorhexidine or cetylpyridinium chloride, in antibacterial mouthwashes
In children, tetracycline, an antibiotic, can also cause the teeth to take on a grayish appearance.
Being aware of the potential relationship between medications and tooth discoloration is important. Equally, important, though, is maintaining your overall health. You should never stop taking a medication without your doctor’s approval.
If you are concerned about medications staining your teeth, talking to your doctor is a good first step. He or she can help you determine if your medications are the culprit. If they are, your doctor can help you protect your health and your smile.
Rediscover and Protect Your Smile with Professional Teeth Whitening Aftercare
Now that you know how to keep teeth white, it’s up to you to put your plan into action.
No matter where you are in that process, Justice Dental is here to help.
Maybe you’re still looking for the right professional whitening service. Or maybe you’ve had your teeth whitened but need to schedule a check-up.
Maybe, finally, you know you need dental work. However, you can’t make it into the office right now and need a virtual consultation.
Whatever your circumstances, Justice Dental is your dentist for a lifetime. Contact us today.