January 4, 2018
So you’ve finished your teeth whitening procedure and you’re thrilled with the results. No one would ever know that you’ve enjoyed years of coffee, tea and red wine – and you’d like to keep it that way. You may have friends who have successfully bleached their teeth, only to have them revert back to their yellow or stained appearance within months. You’d rather avoid that scenario if at all possible, but what’s the best way to do that? Aside from trying to minimize some of the staining foods in your diet, what else can you do to maintain your beautiful new smile? Here are several ideas that can extend the life of your results over the long-term.
How Long Does Whitening Last?
The length of time you can expect to maintain your results can vary a lot from person to person. Much of it has to do with genetics and what the initial shade of your teeth was before whitening. The darker they were naturally, the more quickly they’ll return to that shade after your treatment.
Having said that, many people can go 6-12 months before noticing that their teeth are losing the sparkle they had right after whitening. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to get the most from your results.
What Can You Do Keep Your Teeth White Longer?
Whether you had an in-office procedure or at home whitening, try some of these ideas for maintenance:
- Brushing and flossing – While always important for keeping your teeth and gums healthy, your homecare habits become even more crucial when you’re trying to reduce stains and discolorations. Without fail, brush at least twice per day and floss once. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you proper brushing and flossing technique, as it will help you to be more effective at removing the plaque that contributes to staining.
- Use the right tools – An electric brush uses between 6,000 – 30,000 brush strokes per minute, which can really help reduce stains. Also, while a “whitening” toothpaste won’t actually whiten your teeth, it can remove the surface stains.
- See your dentist regularly – Unfortunately, even with good home care habits, you can’t remove hard deposits of tartar and certain types of staining. Your dentist has advanced tools that can get the job done.
- Swish with water – After drinking coffee, tea, red wine or berry smoothies, swish with water once or twice to remove some of the pigments from your mouth before they settle on your teeth.
- Touch up as necessary – Everyone has to touch up their results from time to time, generally about once a year. You’ll be able to use the custom-made trays from your initial whitening for many years and can pick up a refill of the whitening gel at your dentist’s office as needed. Just wear your trays for a few days whenever you want to get your bright smile back!
About the Author
Dr. Julie Valentine is a general and cosmetic dentist who loves to help her patients achieve the beautiful smiles they’ve always wanted. She knows the impact that good oral health has on someone’s self-confidence, and she gets immense professional satisfaction from providing that to her patients. She can be reached for questions through the ‘Contact Us’ page on her website, or at (310) 551-2955.
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