When patients visit a dentistry clinic, they often ask their dentists what they can do to whiten their smiles. Television commercials and casting directors have convinced them that unless their teeth are pearly white, they're bound to be found unattractive, so whitening is the recommednation. If you're thinking your smile could use a little brightening, here are some popular ways of whitening your teeth.


Step one in any tooth whitening plan is to avoid those substances which are likely to stain your teeth. Tobacco (whether chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes) are a major cause of tooth staining, as are certain types of medications such as antibiotics and tetracycline. There are also many foods we normally have in our homes which can stain teeth, including wine, tea, acidic drinks such as cola, berries, sauces, and brightly colored candy. If it turns your tongue colors when you eat it, it's also staining your teeth.


The least invasive method of whitening your smile is to use a toothpaste with a whitening component or a baking soda based toothpaste. These products work by incorporating a mind bleaching agent along with some extra fine abrasive grit that will help remove stains from your teeth and dental implants. Most drugstores have many varieties, such as Arm and Hammer Whitening or Colgate Total plus Whitening. Some will promise to whiten your teeth by several shades, but the effect is usually mild.


The most popular method of at-home whitening is bleaching strips. These products are applied to your teeth as a film and usually has to stay on for between fifteen minutes and several hours. Some dissolve over time and others must be peeled off. Bleaching treatments can whiten teeth considerably but overuse can result in the weakening of your tooth enamel, so always consult with your family dentist before starting any kind of at-home tooth bleaching regimen.

Professional Treatments

If you're serious about whitening your teeth or you have bad stains from tobacco use, you may want to visit your dentist for intensive whitening. Dentists are able to use bleaching gels and laser treatments to remove stains from your teeth in a safe and effective way. The cost will be higher than if you visited a non-dental clinic or opted for at-home whitening, but the results will be more pronounced and safer for your tooth enamel.

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