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Choose the Best Teeth Whitener

Mellow yellow teeth with the expert scoop about teeth whiteners.

continued...

Can You Whiten Sensitive Teeth?

Tooth and gum sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whiteners, though it's not clear why some people are affected and others are not, explains Denise J. Estafan, DDS, MS. Here are a few expert tips for whitening your teeth in comfort.

Don't worry.

Touchy teeth and gums are no cause for concern when using whiteners. "Healthy individuals with perfectly healthy gums can have a high level of sensitivity," Estafan says. The pain usually subsides within a few days.

Take it slow.

"You don't want to use the strongest and fastest [solution] because it comes with the most side effects," says Mark Wolff, DDS, PhD. Slow and consistent wins the race.

Kill the pain.

Discomfort can be tempered by brushing with toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. Also, if you're using whitening trays, ask your dentist for fluoride or potassium nitrate solutions, which can be applied to teeth in the same tray used for whitening gel and can help decrease tooth sensitivity.

Expert Tip

"If you're going with a drugstore option, you should choose whitening strips. They work better than store-bought trays because they adhere much more closely to the tooth surface." -- Mark Wolff, DDS, PhD

Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of "WebMD the Magazine."

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Reviewed on August 10, 2012

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Answer:
Never
(0)
Good
(1-3)
Better
(4-6)
Best
(7)

You are currently

Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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