After getting your teeth whitened, you probably find yourself smiling more than usual to show off your bright smile.Teeth whitening treatments, whether professional or over the counter, both work by removing years of stains in order to make your teeth appear whiter and brighter. Over the counter treatments tend to take longer, while professional whitening treatments can yield dramatic results in as little as one dental appointment. Nevertheless, both types of whitening treatments can give you a bright smile.
However, the one main downfall of any whitening treatment is the simple fact that it does not last forever. While teeth whitening can remove old stains, it cannot effectively prevent new ones from forming. Overtime, the white color of your teeth will fade as they slowly become stained again. Certain factors like age, diet, certain medications, and oral hygiene practices can determine just how fast your teeth stain and how discolored the stains are. In most cases, whitening results last about 1 year, although they can last up to 3 years in some cases. Chances are you want your results to last as long as possible. Here are some ways to make that happen:
Watch Your Diet
Your diet affects more than just your physical health. In addition to affecting your oral health, your diet can also play a large role in how long your whitening results last. This is because everytime you eat or drink something with colored pigments, these pigments are absorbed by your teeth. The more highly pigmented foods and beverages consumed, the sooner your teeth will stain and the more severe the stain will be. Some of the worst culprits for ruining white teeth include coffee, wine, ketchup, curry, and artificial dyes. Conversely, certain foods like broccoli, cheese, yogurt, apples, strawberries, and pineapple can actually clean your teeth and preserve their bright color.
Rinse After Meals
Of course, it is just about impossible to never eat or drink anything with colored pigments. However, you can minimize the amount of damage done by pigmented foods and beverages by rinsing your mouth with water or milk immediately after consuming something highly pigmented. Rinsing your mouth dilutes the pigments to prevent dark staining. It can also prevent enamel erosion, which decreases the risk of tooth decay. Additionally, brushing your teeth 20 minutes after eating can also be highly beneficial for the same reasons.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Another good way to prevent your teeth from staining is to keep them clean with regular brushing and flossing. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day removes excess plaque, as well as the colored pigments that plaque collects. For the best results, it is recommended to use whitening toothpaste 1-2 times per week and fluoride toothpaste the rest of the time. It can also be beneficial to use mouthwash daily since it can make it harder for plaque to accumulate on the surface of your teeth.
Invest in an Electric Toothbrush
Along with practicing good oral hygiene, it is also helpful to invest in an electric toothbrush. While manual toothbrushes are able to clean your teeth, electric toothbrushes have been proven to be more effective since they are programmed to use the correct brushing technique and pressure. Brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush makes sure that your teeth will be cleaner and less likely to become damaged by brushing too hard.
Finally, it is important to maintain your whitening results with regular dental cleanings and whitening touch ups. Dental cleanings will remove excess plaque and tartar that you may have missed, while whitening touch ups may be provided by your dentist in the form of take home whitening trays. Using whitening trays from time to time can extend the life of your whitening results.