Tips for Making Your Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment Last Longer

Tips for Making Your Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment Last Longer

Right after a professional teeth whitening, your teeth look brilliant and your smile is radiant. Then it’s only natural to wonder how long you can keep your teeth looking their best.

New teeth staining or discoloration will gradually reappear, but you can get the most out of your whitening treatment by following a few simple tips from Linda Kay Nichols, DMD.

Tip 1: Be aware of products that stain your teeth

Though the enamel covering your teeth is incredibly strong, it’s also slightly porous. Your teeth become stained when colored pigments from foods and beverages slowly seep into the enamel.

The best way to keep your teeth as white as possible is to avoid products with dark pigments that stain your teeth. A few of the top culprits include coffee, tea, red wine, tomato sauce, and blue and red berries. 

Juices made from deep-colored fruits like cranberries, grapes, beets, and pomegranate also discolor your teeth.

Since all these products have some health benefits, and some are packed with nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals, you shouldn’t eliminate them from your diet. Now that you’re aware they discolor your teeth, be sure to follow tips 2 and 3 to reduce staining.

Tip 2: Use a straw

When enjoying beverages that stain your teeth, using a straw limits the amount of enamel exposed to the drink. Careful sipping through a straw may nearly prevent staining.

Tip 3: Brush right away to prevent stains

If you brush right away, you remove the pigments that stain your teeth before they have a chance to seep into the pores. If you can’t brush, you can limit staining by drinking water and swishing it briefly in your mouth or chewing sugar-free gum.

Tip 4: Limit products that erode tooth enamel

Some foods and beverages contain acids that eat away at tooth enamel. As enamel erodes, an opening develops that makes it easy for pigments to stain your teeth. Enamel erosion also makes it easier for a cavity to develop, and it can progressively destroy the tooth.

Some healthy foods, such as citrus fruits, naturally contain acids. Tomatoes, vinegar, and coffee are also acidic. However, a bigger threat comes from products that have acids added to them to boost their flavor. In this group, sodas, sports drinks, and sour candies are the top offenders.

If you frequently sip sodas and sports drinks, your teeth are constantly bathed in the acidic fluid. Sour candies stick to your teeth, holding the acid in place against the enamel.

Tip 5: Don’t brush right after consuming an acidic product

This is the only time we suggest waiting to brush your teeth. Brushing while the acid is still on your teeth makes the problem worse by rubbing the acid around. Instead, rinse with water after consuming an acidic product and then wait an hour to brush. Using a straw also funnels acidic beverages away from your teeth.

Tip 6: Eliminate nicotine

Whether you get nicotine from cigarettes or vaping, you should know that nicotine causes yellow-brown teeth discoloration. Tobacco naturally contains nicotine, but one pod of a typical e-cig contains as much nicotine as 20 regular cigarettes. Smoking causes dry mouth, a problem that increases your risk of teeth staining. 

Tip 7: Ask about professional products to use at home

Some people rely on whitening strips or other over-the-counter teeth-whitening products to give their smile a touch-up between professional teeth-whitening appointments.

If you’re considering an at-home touch-up, talk with us about professional teeth-whitening products. For example, we can create a custom tray that fits your teeth, then give you a whitening gel to use in the tray at home.

To learn more about maintaining a radiant smile, call Linda Kay Nichols, DMD, or request an appointment online today.

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