The Quest for Whiter Teeth
From movie stars, to the folks next door, a lot of people are whitening their teeth. You may be thinking, “Why not me, too?”
Your dentist can bleach your teeth in his office in a single 30 to 60-minute treatment.1 Advantages of in-office bleaching include:
An at-home tooth-whitening product also may be right for you. But before you pick a product, get some expert advice. Your dentist will be able to tell you whether bleaching your teeth is a good idea for you and whether an at-home product will help. Also, be sure to choose a whitening product that has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.3
Your At-Home Options
Whitening toothpastes and whitening strips are two popular at-home options to brighten your smile. Whitening toothpastes have polishing agents in addition to mild abrasives that help remove stains from the surface of your teeth. However, if your teeth have deeper, darker stains due to injury or certain medications, a stronger bleaching treatment is required.4 According to the Academy of General Dentistry, whitening toothpastes are more effective at maintaining your shine after you’ve undergone stronger in-office or at-home whitening treatments.5
There are a number of whitening strips available at your supermarket or drugstore that use hydrogen peroxide. This bleaching agent may cause irritation if it comes in contact with your gums or lips. To minimize this problem, manufacturers keep the strength of hydrogen peroxide in whitening strips low. The downside is that the results are slow and not as dramatic as when you get your teeth whitened at your dentist’s office.5
Keeping Your Smile White
No matter which treatment you use for brightening your smile, keep those teeth pearly white by avoiding cola, coffee, tobacco smoke, and other substances that may stain.5 And remember to brush at least twice a day, with special attention to the gum line, and floss at least once daily.
1 “Tooth Whitening Treatments.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2754.aspx Accessed 2010.
2 “Policy on Dental Bleaching for Child and Adolescent Patients.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/P_Bleaching.pdf#xml=http://pr-dtsearch001.americaneagle.com/service/search.asp?cmd=pdfhits&DocId=60&Index=F%3a%5cdtSearch%5caapd%2eorg&HitCount=4&hits=1e2+1e3+5c9+5ca+&hc=4&req=%22whitening+strips%22 Accessed 2010.
3 “Tooth Whitening Treatments: FAQ.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2754.aspx Accessed 2010.
4 “Quick Tips for Busy Parents: Whitening Toothpastes. ”American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. www.aapd.org/hottopics/news.asp?NEWS_ID=501 Accessed 2010.
5 “Tooth Whitening Leads in Cosmetic Dentistry. ”Academy of General Dentistry. February 6, 2008. http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/2008/02/06/tooth-whitening-leads-in-cosmetic-dentistry.html Accessed 2010.
Online Medical Reviewer:
Eakle, Stephan W., DDS
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