When it comes to whitening your teeth, you may have tried things like reducing your coffee intake or quitting smoking. But over the holidays, a glass of red wine or a cup of tea is ever-so tempting– increasing the chances of teeth yellowing. “Staining prevention means avoiding or altering the habits that cause discoloration,” Chief Dental Officer at Tend, Dr. Chris Salierno tells ESSENCE. But this is easier said than done. That said, “if you don’t want to reduce your intake, you could try a technique like sipping through a straw to reduce the amount of time the staining agents are bathing your teeth.”
But even if you cut back on, or quit, bad habits, the remnants of your daily favorites may not have gone away. So, if it’s too late, whitening your teeth is always an option. “In-office whitening can be achieved in a couple of hours,” as opposed to seeing results in two weeks with an at-home option, Salierno says. With a dentist appointment, your healthcare provider can help you identify the causes and prevention tips to reduce yellowing. But if visiting the dentist isn’t an accessible option for you, at-home teeth whitening might be preferred.
Below, Dr. Salierno walks us through 4 tips for whiter teeth– and how to keep your smile shining bright.
Change your habits
“Teeth can yellow over time due to staining or due to aging/wear of the teeth,” he says. “A dentist can help you identify the specific causes and recommend prevention tips.” Coffee, tea, and red wine are a few of the key items, for example, that a dentist might mention to stay away from.
Whiten your teeth at home
“Home whitening solutions,” like the Moon Teeth Whitening Device, “typically involve applying a tray or strip that is carrying the whitening material,” he says. “This is worn for a certain amount of time; less than an hour or as long as overnight, depending on the strength of the agents.” “The at-home application is used for a short period of time (commonly 2 weeks) to get the initial results,” he continues. But, you may decide to whiten longer if needed.
Get teeth whitening touch ups
Whether in-office or at-home, touch ups may be necessary, but “This is completely a patient-driven decision,” he says. “Some patients have habits that lead to faster staining, so they may need to do touch-up whitening a few times per year.” Touch-ups can only last a few days, if done more frequently,” he continues.
Other best practices
“Regular dental check-ups, cleanings, and good home care are time-tested ways to keep stains and other build-up that can discolor teeth,” he says. “Your dental team can customize a whitening protocol that will keep your enamel as white as possible, based on the natural color of your teeth and your staining habits.”
And remember, “The best time to whiten your teeth is soon after a cleaning at your dental office,” he continues. “We want to whiten your teeth, not the plaque and tartar that’s stuck on your teeth!”