Whiten Your Teeth at Home
Does It Work?
That depends. “Generally speaking, yellow teeth tend to whiten better than teeth with gray tones,” Messina says. Teeth that are stained by medicines don’t tend to lighten well. And bleaching won’t work on caps, crowns, veneers, or fillings. You may need to have your teeth restored first.
What Are the Side Effects?
These products can make your teeth more sensitive. It happens when the peroxide seeps through the enamel that covers your tooth and bothers the nerve. In most cases this feeling doesn’t last. If it does, or if your gums change color, see your dentist right away.
When Will I See Results?
You should know if it’s working in about a week, Messina says. Take a photo of your smile before you use an OTC whitening kit the first time. Take a second a week later. Compare the two. If you see a change, it’s working. But make sure your goals are realistic.
If your teeth aren’t brighter after 2 weeks, call your dentist. “If you’re not getting good results after one box of whitening strips, you’re not going to see better results after 10 boxes,” Messina says. You may need a stronger treatment.
Tips to Keep Your Teeth White
You’ve spent time and money to brighten your smile. Follow these tips to keep it that way:
Quit smoking. Tobacco is bad for your health -- and your pearly whites.
Cut back on coffee, tea, cola, and red wine. “Anything you would get yelled at for spilling on a white tablecloth will stain your teeth,” Messina says. Sip through a straw to bypass your front teeth
Keep your mouth healthy. Brush your teeth well at least twice a day. Use a whitening toothpaste. Don’t forget to floss.
See your dentist. Get your teeth cleaned twice a year to help them stay white and healthy.