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    Choose the Best Teeth Whitener

    Option 2: Takeout continued...

    Most people will see a difference in about 2 to 3 weeks. The treatment only works if you use it, though, so you have to be motivated to follow through with it, Ryoo says.

    Aside from cost, the main drawback is tooth sensitivity. While any kind of whitening can cause it, stronger products are more likely to bring it on, Hewlett says. "It’s a balance between getting the job done and having it being comfortable."

    Switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth a week before you start the whitening. Keep using it during treatment. Once you stop whitening, the problem goes away.

    Option 3: Do It Yourself

    If you’re looking for a wallet-friendly option, consider buying whitening strips at the drugstore. Kits range from about $30 to $65.

    They do work, Hewlett says. He suggests you see a dentist first to:

    • Rule out cavities and gum problems.
    • Make sure the color of your teeth would benefit from the process.

    Whitening mouthwashes, on the other hand, probably won’t do much. And whitening toothpastes are designed to remove stains on your teeth, not to make them whiter. Some have a small amount of peroxide, but not enough to change tooth color. If you’ve already whitened your teeth, these products can help you maintain the color. Be sure to choose one with fluoride.

    How to Keep Them White

    Once your teeth are dazzling, you’ll need to whiten them every 6 months or once a year to keep them looking the way you want.

    Even after a professional whitening, your choppers can still get stained on the outside from drinking coffee, tea, and red wine, and from smoking. If you light up, kick the habit. Also, rinse out your mouth with water after you sip a dark drink to lower the chances of stains. You can also pass a damp toothbrush over your teeth.

    And while it may be tempting to want a blinding movie-star white smile, Li says dentists advise against bleaching too much. Your teeth won’t look natural if they’re lighter than the whites of your eyes.

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    Reviewed on January 29, 2016

    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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    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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