Should I Whiten My Teeth at Home?
By Caitlin Boyle
Should I whiten my teeth at home? Everyone else may have been admiring (or disparaging!) the gowns worn by celebs to the Oscars, but I couldn’t help staring at everyone’s teeth! There were so many bright, white and healthy smiles. But it’s too bad all of the celebrities’ smiles are equally blinding, because having whiter teeth can actually help you win!
A 2007 study found, job applicants with freshly whitened teeth were viewed by human resource personnel as more attractive, professional and confident. Applicants with dazzling pearly whites also received longer interviews and larger salary offers — proving that a brighter smile can help open doors.
Are you ready for your close-up? Or would your smile look more inviting if it was whiter?
Do Teeth Whitening Products Really Work?
Yes! Whitening strips, toothpaste and mouthwash use advanced chemical processes to remove stains and prevent the formation of new stains. Your toothbrush and floss are important whitening tools too.
There are two types of unsightly tooth stains: extrinsic stains and intrinsic stains. The outside of your teeth are covered with a film called the pellicle; certain foods, tobacco products and some beverages can result in brown or yellow stains on the pellicle. These stains can be removed through dental cleanings and chemical treatments from whitening products.
Intrinsic staining occurs underneath your tooth’s enamel and can be due to aging, certain medications, and consuming staining foods and beverages over a long period of time. While you can’t ‘brush away’ brown or yellow intrinsic stains, these troublesome stains can successfully be whitened by a dentist or through at-home whitening strips.
A toothbrush, floss, whitening toothpaste and mouthwash will remove extrinsic stains and prevent new stains from forming. Whitening strips and a whitening mouthwash are effective solutions for tricky intrinsic stains; these products work by bleaching the stains with hydrogen peroxide, the same chemical used by dentists in their offices. The higher the percentage of hydrogen peroxide in a whitening product, the stronger its bleaching power. Crest’s 3D White Professional Effects Strips with Advanced Seal Technology contain 10% hydrogen peroxide.
How Do I Get the Best Results From Whitening Products?
Follow the instructions exactly. You shouldn’t wear strips longer than the instructions indicate, as this can cause tooth sensitivity or gum pain.
Remember that teeth whitening products only whiten real teeth. “People with composite restorations will only see a change in their natural teeth. With that in mind, you might want to bleach your teeth before coming in for a crown or filling,” says Dr. Steven Saunders, a private practice dentist in Asheville, North Carolina.
Is It Safe?
At-home whitening products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as both cosmetic products and over-the-counter drugs. Whitening products are formulated to be safe when used as directed. Evidence indicates that your tooth’s enamel is not damaged by at-home or dentist whitening procedures.
How Can I Maintain My New Dazzling Smile?
Many at-home products will result in whiter teeth for up to one year. Proper dental hygiene will help keep your teeth looking whiter, longer. Your daily routine should include brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash twice a day.
Certain foods, like wine, soda, tea, and coffee, can stain teeth; consume these foods in moderation or avoid them entirely. Drinking through a straw can also reduce the staining effect of certain beverages. Smoking will cause severe tooth staining, so it’s best to abstain from cigarettes entirely.
is a professional blogger, motivational speaker, and author of the book Healthy Tipping Point: A Powerful Program for a Stronger, Happier You. She helps her husband run a holistic health clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina.