A few years ago, I realized that I was thinking about dental care all wrong. Instead of listening carefully to my dentist and making the necessary changes, I assumed that he was ultimately responsible for making sure that my teeth stayed healthy. Unfortunately, I developed a few serious cavities because I failed to properly brush and floss my teeth, and I knew that it was my fault. I decided to start taking notes at my dental checkups and carefully abiding by the dentist's orders. The difference was almost miraculous. This blog is all about working with your dentist to improve your result.
Having your teeth whitened can be very exciting. Within just an hour or two in your dentist's office, you finally have the bright, white smile you've always wished for. Now, it's time to turn your attention towards keeping that smile white! Follow these tips in the weeks, months, and years after treatment to ensure your results last as long as possible.
Use a whitening toothpaste.
Even though your teeth are no longer stained, it's a good idea to use a whitening toothpaste. These toothpastes work because they have some gritty matter in them. The special grit helps scrub stains from your teeth. You'll scrub them away before they get to the point of being obvious! The exception is if your teeth are a bit sensitive after whitening treatment. In that case, you should use a sensitivity toothpaste for a few weeks -- until your teeth feel better -- and then switch to a whitening toothpaste.
Drink coffee with a straw.
If you're able to give up coffee and other dark beverages completely, that's the best. However, most people don't want to kick that coffee habit. You can minimize the staining effects by at least drinking the coffee with a straw. This way, it won't directly touch your front teeth. Also drink your tea and red wine with a straw. When drinking in public, you may want to choose green tea and white wine if you're too worried about looking silly.
Brush your teeth more often.
A lot of staining is caused by the slow buildup of plaque and tartar on the surface of your teeth. You can minimize this buildup by brushing your teeth more often. Instead of just brushing twice a day, bring your toothbrush with you (or keep a second one in your desk), so you can brush after lunch and snacks. If you don't let plaque accumulate, then stains won't accumulate, either.
Keep your regular cleaning appointments.
During a professional cleaning appointment, your dental hygienist will scrape away tartar, which is hardened plaque that accumulates along the gum line. This tartar leads to staining if left in place for too long. So, keep going to the dentist for cleaning and checkup appointments every 6 months. Schedule your appointments well in advance so you don't forget to make them.
To learn more about keeping your teeth white after a professional treatment, speak with your dentist or dental hygienist.