Studies have shown that the one attribute that makes the strongest impression upon meeting someone new is the smile. That means that a less than dazzling grin could hinder you from putting your best foot forward in social and professional settings. If your teeth are stained and yellow from everyday wear and tear, you may be contemplating a whitening solution. But before you jump in, teeth first, it’s a good idea to understand the options that are available to you, both over-the-counter and through your dental office.
Your dentist will likely offer several options, the first being the economical at-home whitening system. Professional whiteners use peroxide solutions to bleach discolorations and are a higher concentration than the kind you can purchase at your local drugstore. Your dentist may offer you a kit, ranging from $50 to $75, that offers a safe, quick solution. But the results vary and typically don’t last long. The next option involves custom-fit trays. By making an impression of your teeth, a tray is then made to fit your exact shape, ensuring the best possible results. These trays can run anywhere from $350 to about $600. The final option typically available from your dentist is an in-office treatment that uses specially designed whitening gels activated by a special light. While this option is generally the most expensive (often around $1,000), the instantaneous results are the best available and will last longer than any other.
If these options seem out of reach for financial reasons, there are several home remedies that may help brighten your smile. Some of the more common ones include:
- Baking Soda. As opposed to bleaching stains, baking soda scrubs away stains in a mildly abrasive manner. However, extreme caution should be used when using baking soda because too much can wear down the protective enamel of your teeth. Using a toothpaste that includes this ingredient is your best bet in order to protect your dental health.
- Peroxide rinse. Some people have found success using a 3 percent peroxide as a twice-daily rinse. But again, too much can be harmful.
- Crunchy fruits and vegetables. Munching on apples or celery can help remove surface plaque and stains. Hard cheeses can accomplish the same while also giving you the calcium boost necessary to maintain dental health.
- Strawberries. This fruit has been shown to act as a natural tooth whitener, due to the malic acid, which can soften and dissolve stains.
- Wearing red. For the ladies, red lipstick can make teeth look whiter, especially with a blue base color.
To help fight against stains, dentist encourage drinking plenty of water to help keep your teeth clean. Additionally, you should sip dark beverages, like coffee and red wine, with a straw to protect your front teeth from stains. Eating a balanced diet and brushing and flossing regularly will also help keep your smile white and bright. When considering a teeth whitening process, it is always advised to discuss the issue with your dentist first. They can thoroughly explain your options and help you choose the best method for your mouth and your pocket book.