Are your teeth not as bright and white as they should be? Even if your teeth are healthy, there are a lot of reasons why they might appear yellowed. Often, it comes down to what you eat and drink. Certain foods and beverages, like blackberries or coffee, can leave stains on your teeth. Teeth also tend to darken with age. If you smoke or use tobacco products, your teeth may develop yellow or brown stains. And certain medications can also cause stains. Fortunately, you can restore your bright smile with tooth whitening treatments. Many people have misconceptions about tooth whitening treatments, so take a look at the truth behind some tooth whitening myths so that you can make an informed decision.
Myth: You Can Brush the Stains Away
Tooth brushing is vital to a beautiful smile, but it’s not a substitute for whitening treatments.
Yes, you can buy whitening toothpaste, and it’s less expensive than having a whitening treatment done at the dentist’s ofiice. However, it may not be strong enough to remove the stains on your teeth. And even if it does lift some of the surface stains, it won’t actually make your teeth whiter, because it doesn’t contain a bleaching agent. If your concern is that your teeth are less white and bright than they should be overall, whitening toothpaste probably won’t solve the problem.
What’s more, you could actually harm your teeth with ongoing use of whitening toothpaste. These toothpastes contain abrasive materials meant to scrub stains o, but when you scrub your teeth with these abrasives too often, you can break down the protective top layer of tooth material, leading to sensitive teeth.
Myth: Tooth Whitening Is Instant
It’s nice to think about your teeth going from dingy to dazzling in an instant, but most tooth whitening treatments don’t work that way. If you use at-home treatments that you buy over the counter or in-office treatments given to you by your dentist, you’ll need several treatments before you begin to see the results you want.
The exception to the rule is laser whitening treatments, which really can show dramatic results after just one treatment. However, even with laser treatment, if your teeth are particularly stained or dingy, you may need more than one treatment to reach your desired level of whiteness.
Myth: Once Your Teeth Are Whitened, They Stay That Way
You can keep your teeth white longer by being careful about what you eat and drink.
Tooth whitening treatments can lighten your teeth, but that doesn’t mean that the effect is permanent. Most of the same things that caused your teeth to stain before the treatment will cause staining afterward too. In fact, in the first few days following the treatment, you’ll need to be especially careful about food and drinks that stain, because your teeth will be porous and will easily absorb the staining material.
Once those first few days have passed, you won’t have to be as careful, but you should still keep staining in mind when you choose your meals or consider whether to smoke another cigarette. The effects of tooth whitening can usually last for a year or two. If you keep staining agents to a minimum and clean your teeth carefully, you may be able to extend that time. However, eventually, you may need to have another whitening treatment to retain your preferred level of whiteness.
If you’re interested in tooth whitening treatments, your dentist can tell you whether they’re right for you. Contact us to request information.