Teeth whitening isn’t as straightforward as just applying treatment, waiting for it to work its magic, removing it, and putting a healthy white smile forward. In order to achieve an optimal shade of white, and have the treatment penetrate the color of the tooth enough to change its shade, the situation has to be approached properly!
We’re going to break down all the do’s and don’ts of what to do, and what not to do, before and after you whiten your teeth. Let’s start with everything you should do for the best results!
Sometimes your aftercare involves how you take care of your teeth before you even whiten them! Teeth whitening products are designed for a healthy mouth, so it’s important to take steps before your treatment to ensure it can work as effectively as possible when applied.
- Have Good Oral Hygiene Before Pursuing Whitening
If your teeth have a tough top layer of buildup, potentially due to infrequent brushing, it may be hard for the whitening treatment to work properly. Before you begin your whitening treatment, it’s a good idea to have yourself commit to a strict oral hygiene routine in preparation, and visit your dentist for a professional cleaning. If you are experiencing build up, it can’t be removed by a toothbrush and floss – a dentist is the only way to truly remove it, and properly prepare your teeth.
Your dentist will examine your teeth in addition to cleaning them. They’ll be able to tell you if there are any concerns with your oral health that may prevent a whitening treatment from working. These concerns could include tooth decay, early signs of periodontal disease, and more – it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Good oral hygiene will ensure that your treatment lasts, and you won’t face any strange or unwanted side effects and mishaps. When in doubt, talk to your dentist about what whitening treatments will work for you, and how prone your teeth will be to the whitening treatment you’re considering.
- Whiten Your Teeth Professionally
This is the number one way to ensure a safe treatment! Using a professional whitening kit given to you by your dentist is 100% safe, fast, customized, and all around more effective than a DIY kit, or whitening strips from the grocery store.
This will also ensure that no teeth are missed, all teeth will be whitened according to the shade that will best match your skin tone and face, and that you’ll be using a product strong enough to create a lasting impact on your smile.
- Avoid Dark Foods and Liquids, Before and After
This is especially true for the first few days following your treatment. Providing less opportunities for your teeth to stain will ensure the shade lasts, and you won’t have to do a touch up, or start the process over again.
Foods that are particularly acidic should be avoided at all costs. Acidity is already bad for your teeth, and can easily strip a fresh whitening treatment. How? Acidic foods cause your teeth to be more porous than usual by breaking down your protective layer of enamel. This makes it easier for your teeth to absorb stains – obviously, this is the last thing we want for your new smile!
Coffee, tea, sodas and acidic fruits such as lemon put you at high risk for staining and discoloration. If they absolutely can’t be avoided, it’s best if you brush and floss directly after consumption to ensure nothing sticks to your teeth, or ruins their color!
- Keep Your Dentist in the Loop
Make sure that you’re properly preparing yourself for a treatment by asking your dentist for tips, tricks and advice. With their understanding of your oral history they’ll be able to instruct you on what to do, what not to do, and how to achieve the best customized results for your specific smile.
- Don’t Try to Do it Yourself
We already said that you should visit a professional for a whitening kit or treatment when pursuing a whiter smile, and here’s why!
When patients think of whitening their teeth at home, cost is typically a factor. There are so many products being advertised online that are outside the traditional norm of whitening products; the biggest one right now is brushing with activated charcoal.
Influencers and people on your Instagram feed make it look good, but this approach can come with some unique side effects. While they may succeed in whitening the teeth, you could be jeopardizing your oral health on the way to a whiter smile.
Old wife’s tales point some patients to baking soda and lemon juice to strip the stains from their smile and make it white once more, but neither are an effective route. These products have the same impact acidity does on the tooth; the products themselves abrasive enough to damage the enamel, and make your teeth more prone to staining.
As much as you likely want to maintain a perfect white smile, it’s important to take ample time in between treatments. Touch ups are encouraged, but differ greatly from the full whitening process itself.
Whitening too often can cause sensitivity issues that will outweigh the benefits of having a white smile. If you consult your dentist, they’ll be able to provide an ideal timeline of the right whitening frequency. This will ensure your smile is always as bright as can be, while still allowing you to maintain great oral health!
- Don’t Mess with the Ingredients
You may think that putting your own spin on your whitening treatment will better customize the result for you, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ll never know better than your dentist, and it’s important you follow their instructions in order to achieve the desired result.
For example, let’s say your dentist instructs you to apply the treatment for twenty minutes a day, three days in a row. You decide that you could shorten your treatment time and just apply it for sixty minutes over the course of one day – but this may leave you with more than just a white smile. This could cause extreme sensitivity and discomfort for weeks, even months to come. It’s always best to listen to your dentist – they know what’s best for you!