Most teeth can be whitened (some call it bleaching) and there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. External tooth whitening happens when vital teeth are bleached by direct contact with a safe and commonly used whitening agent, either in a dental office or at home. This means that in most situations, tooth whitening is possible and safe.
Everybody loves a bright white smile, and there are a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the look of yours. Many people are satisfied with the sparkle they get from daily oral hygiene and regular cleanings at your dentist’s office, but if you decide you would like to go beyond this to make your smile look brighter, you should investigate all of your whitening options.
Start by speaking with your dentist. He or she can tell you whether whitening procedures would be effective for you. Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellow-ish hued teeth will probably bleach well, brownish-colored teeth may bleach less well, and grayish-hued teeth may not bleach well at all. If you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth the whitener will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. You may want to investigate other options, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding.
The following are five habits dentists recommend that adults do each day to keep oral hygiene in top shape:
1. Use an Electric Toothbrush
At more than 30,000 strokes per minute compared to the average of 100 strokes per minute with a manual toothbrush, electric toothbrushes work harder by pushing fluid between teeth and around the gum line, which provides a more effective cleaning.
Dr. Kellee Kattleman Stanton, a Minnesota cosmetic dentist and Sustaining Member of the AACD says, “Regardless of whether or not you have cavities, using an electric toothbrush over time prevents gum inflammation, gingivitis and periodontal disease.”
2. Floss at Night
The CDC reports that nearly 65 million Americans—one out every two adults ages 30 and older—have gum disease. Therefore, flossing once a day is crucial to avoid plaque and tartar, a hard mineral deposit that can cause gums to become swollen and inflamed, leading to gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease.
“My recommendation is to floss at night,” says Ronald M. Goodlin, DDS, President, AACD. “During sleep cycles, less saliva is produced to naturally clean teeth and gums, so oral bacteria are free to do more damage. Therefore, it’s important to brush, floss and scrape your tongue every night to get rid of bacteria and go to bed with your mouth as clean as possible.”
3. Select the Right Toothpaste
Dr. Jack Ringer, president elect of AACD who practices cosmetic dentistry in Anaheim, Calif., cautions his patients to be skeptical of any toothpaste that promises to “whiten” teeth. The reality is that removal of surface stains by a toothpaste will make the tooth “look” lighter, but not change its inherent color. To lighten or “bleach” teeth, schedule a professional in-office whitening treatment, or use over-the-counter name brand bleaching products that work on the internal aspect of the tooth, not just the external aspect as a toothpaste does.
4. Don’t Forget Mouthwash
A refreshing and cost-effective alternative to store-bought mouthwash is creating a Homemade Anti-Cavity Mouth Rinse.
The following recipe was developed for the AACD by Dr. Shawn Frawley, a cosmetic dentist with a family practice in Beverly Hills, Calif. This recipes uses xylitol, a sugar substitute that studies show prevents tooth decay.Ingredients:
8 ounces water
2 teaspoons PreviDent GEL (1.1% Sodium Fluoride)*
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ Tablespoons xylitol*
¼ teaspoon peppermint oil extract or favorite flavor
* Sodium Fluoride is available from a pharmacist
Blend ingredients together with an emersion blender or regular blender. Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
Rinse with 2 teaspoons for approximately 1 minute, 1-2 times per day after brushing. For best results, do not eat, drink, or rinse for 30 minutes after expectorating. Do not swallow.
This recipe makes approximately a 2-week supply.
5. Eat Foods Good for Healthy Teeth
Research studies show that certain foods naturally cleanse your teeth while you eat them. The AACD developed nine nutritious recipes from breakfast to dinner using these key ingredients:
• Fruits like strawberries and pineapple are high in fiber and vitamin C. The citric acid in pineapple also provides an all-natural bacteria-fighting mouthwash.
• Veggies like Kale and broccoli are high in minerals that strengthen tooth structure and prevent enamel erosion (or yellowing).
• Onions and wasabi –a type of Japanese horse radish both contain compounds that reduce oral bacteria.
• Quinoa has minerals including Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus to strengthen teeth.
Quoted from © 2011 American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry