There’s more than one way to have your teeth whitened (see your options here) but no matter which road you go down, it’s likely that you went through quite a bit of trouble, effort and money to achieve a new and beautiful white smile.
Now that you’ve had your teeth whitened, your next problem is making sure they stay white, as stains tend to return over time, causing your teeth to turn yellow. After all the time and money spent on tooth whitening, the last thing you want is to look in the mirror and find discoloration on your teeth once more.
Here 6 simple hacks you can turn to, to keep your whiter for longer after treatment.
Just because your teeth are now whiter, doesn’t mean you get a free pass on daily brushing and flossing. You need to be vigilant in keeping your mouth clean, healthy, and free of stains.
As a rule of thumb, brush and floss at least twice a day—after breakfast and before going to bed. For improved defence against stains, use a brand of toothpaste proven to protect against dark pigments in red wine and coffee. You should also make it a habit of rinsing your mouth with water after drinking coffee, team, soda, or red wine.
Aside from your daily dental care routine, it’s important to visit your dentist regularly so they can check the status of your whitened teeth. If any stains begin to form on your teeth, your dentist or the dental hygienist in their office can remove stains through professional cleaning, an efficient solution for removing discolorations without having to resort to bleaching once more.
Getting in early with new stains is twice as important after a recent whitening treatment as your teeth are more susceptible to discolouration’s due to a wear down of enamel. The standard rule for dental cleaning still applies: once or twice a year.
When it comes to caring for your teeth, prevention is still better than cure. It’s a lot easier to keep your teeth white if you avoid staining in the first place. In the few weeks that follow your teeth whitening treatment, you should avoid or limit your consumption of foods and beverages with dark pigments and high staining potential.
These include foods that contain curry and soy sauce as well as beverages such as coffee, tea, soda, and red wine. If you can’t avoid drinking these beverages, use a straw to limit exposure to your teeth.
Smoking is another notorious cause of staining, so either kick the habit or limit your smoking after a whitening procedure. The chances are that your dentist advised you to kick the habit before your whitening treatment, but if you can’t help yourself, try to avoid smoking for the next 48 hours after the procedure—otherwise, you’ll end up staining your teeth once more.
The adverse effects of smoking on health are well documented, but it’s usually the images of stained, unsightly teeth that push smokers to quit.
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to rinse your mouth with water after consuming foods and drinks with a high likelihood of staining your teeth. Be sure to drink water after each meal, which will not only keep you hydrated but will also prevent food particles from adhering to your teeth, causing stains.
In the next few weeks after your teeth whitening treatment, limit your diet to foods that support optimal dental health. These include rice, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, and yoghurt among other food groups. Most dentists recommend sticking to this diet religiously for the next two weeks after treatment.
You can also consider replacing your obligatory serving of dessert after meals with apples and raw vegetables, which are less likely to cause staining and tooth decay compared to sweet, sticky foods.
The bottom line
With consistent brushing habits and regular visits to the dentist for professional cleaning, you can keep your teeth looking white and healthy. Consistency and discipline are crucial factors to preventing stains, as habits like coffee drinking and smoking can quickly undo several weeks of work, not to mention hundreds of dollars spent on tooth whitening procedures.
If you’re unhappy with how your teeth look, your dentist will be the best person to ask about what you can do; they can can make long-term plans to aid you in keeping your teeth white and take immediate action when stains begin to form.