Tips to keep your teeth white after a whitening procedure
So, you got your teeth professionally whitened, and you are pleased with the results. However, you wonder how to keep your teeth sparkling and white as time goes on.
Most cosmetic dentists offer at-home touch-up kits for use after a whitening procedure, but also, Philip W. Hart, family dentist in Bartlett, TN, recommends his patients follow simple dental hygiene practices and healthy diet guidelines to keep tooth enamel bright.
Take Care of Your Teeth
Brush, floss and get regular professional dental care. Keeping your teeth white is not difficult, it just takes disciplined habits that you probably already have - routines such as:
- Brushing for 2 minutes 2 times a day. The American Dental Association recommends this at-home practice to reduce plaque and ward-off decay and gum disease. Fortunately, quality fluoride toothpastes usually contain a percentage of whitening hydrogen peroxide, the same bleaching agent found in professional whitening gels.
- Floss once a day. How does this relate to keeping your teeth white? Flossing eliminates plaque and tartar that hold stains, and also bacteria that softens enamel, making it discolor more easily.
- Get semi-annual exams and cleanings with Dr. Hart. Hygienic cleanings remove plaque and tartar and also polish teeth for a smooth, bright look.
- Apply teeth whitening touch-up gel as directed by Dr. Hart.
Change Dietary Habits
Some foods and beverages stain tooth enamel, including:
- blueberries, blackberries, pomegranates
- tea, coffee, red wine, colas, root beer, sports drinks
- curry, soy sauce
- processed foods with artificial colors such as hard candies and popsicles
Starchy foods such as white bread, breakfast cereals, potatoes and rice encourage plaque build-up and its acid-secreting micro-organisms. More acid in the mouth equals softer enamel and more cavities and stains.
When consuming staining drinks, use a straw to help bypass tooth enamel. Brush your teeth right after eating, or at least rinse well with water. Good hydration not only cleanses tooth surfaces, it also encourages saliva production for cleaner, whiter teeth and healthier gums.
Add healthy food choices. Hard, high-fiber fruits and vegetables scrape teeth clean, reducing the chance of stains going deep into enamel. Try celery, apples, cauliflower, broccoli and pineapple at meals and at snack time. Also, hard cheeses, low-fat milk and yogurt have a high calcium content which strengthens tooth enamel.
Get Rid of Tobacco Products
If you smoke or chew tobacco, stop. Your overall health will improve along with your oral health. Tobacco is notorious for staining teeth. To get the most out of your professional teeth whitening, ask Dr. Hart or your primary care physician for help in kicking the habit.
Call Dr. Hart With Questions
If you have additional concerns about keeping your whitened smile bright, contact Dr. Hart and his staff at his Bartlett area office for more tips. Patient teaching is a passion of Dr. Hart. He wants your smile to always be at its healthiest and whitest best! Call (901) 386-9299.