Feeling good about your smile is so important. This is why when it is looking a little lackluster, it is not uncommon for patients to invest in a professional teeth whitening treatment. After all, it is the only way to get your teeth many shades lighter in just one short visit.
Knowing what to do after whitening your teeth - especially what foods to avoid - will play a role in just how long you get to enjoy your results.
What Causes Teeth to Stain?
There are many different reasons why teeth stain. Some are the result of a patient's own choices and others are the result of things outside of their control. Let’s look at a few.
- Dark or brightly colored food and beverages, such as coffee, tea, red wine, berries, etc.
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Certain medical conditions/diseases and medications
- Dental trauma
Keep in mind that there are different types of staining that occur within teeth. Some stains are very responsive to whitening treatments, such as the discoloration that comes from drinking too much coffee. Other stains, such as the dark spots from decay inside a tooth will not change at all.
What Foods Should You Avoid After Whitening?
As soon as you complete your teeth whitening treatment, you will want to implement a few changes to the foods and beverages you are willing to consume — assuming you’d like to keep your stellar results.
Those that should be knocked off the menu include:
- Dark-colored and/or acidic beverages. Do not consume beverages like soda, tea, coffee, red wine, fruit juices, alcoholic beverages, and more.
- Sweet, sugary foods. Bacteria are highly attracted to sugar. Eating too many sweet treats can lead to staining — some you may eventually not be able to remove.
- Colorful foods. Whether naturally colorful or through the use of dyes, brightly-colored foods should be avoided, such as beets, berries, ketchup, chocolate, curry hot sauce, and more.
Not sure if a food or beverage could stain your teeth? Ask yourself what would happen if you poured it onto a white shirt. Would it stain? If so, avoid it.
How to Care for Teeth After Whitening
If you have put forth the time and money for a professional teeth whitening treatment, then there is a good chance you would like to enjoy the results for as long as possible. To do so, you will need to learn how to properly care for them.
Brush your teeth two to three times per day. The less time you allow staining debris to remain on your teeth, the better. Brushing after eating is ideal, but when you are unable to do so, make the effort to rinse with water after eating to keep your teeth looking their very best.
Flossing daily is important, too.
Finally, be sure to have routine professional cleanings with your dentist every 6 months. Discuss if there is an at-home option for professional whitening that you can do in the interim if your teeth need an extra boost.
Teeth Whitening Treatments at Schaus Dental Studio
At Schaus Dental Studio, we understand that our patients will smile more and feel more confident in life after having a teeth whitening treatment. And, for convenience, we offer both in-office and at-home teeth whitening options.
Teeth whitening is fast, effective, and affordable. As a non-invasive cosmetic dental treatment, teeth whitening may range in price from $75-$1,000, depending upon the type of whitening you select. Read on to learn about different options for whitening your teeth.
In-Office Whitening at the Dentist
If you’re looking for the fastest way to create a brilliantly bright smile, in-office teeth whitening is your best bet. Completed in approximately one hour, the professional-strength teeth whitening gel is applied to the surface of your teeth. During a typical whitening session at the dentist, the gel is rinsed and re-applied up to three times. In-office dental whitening typically costs between $600-$700.
Custom Tray Teeth Whitening Kits
Custom trays are a popular way to whiten teeth. A digital scan is taken and trays are fabricated that fit very accurately to your teeth. The results you can expect and the cost of whitening with custom trays depends on which specific system you are interested in. The price varies from $400-$1,000. This way of whitening is popular as the trays tend to fit over time so it’s easy to get more bleach gel and touch things up in the future.
Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits
Take-home whitening kits available from your dentist also use a dental-grade whitening gel. Professional basic teeth-whitening kits are typically less than $100. These are very popular as they are the most economical way to professionally whiten your teeth and are available to take home the same day. Whitening at home may take several weeks to reveal your brightest smile.
Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips, Gels, Toothpaste
You can also buy products over-the-counter at the supermarket or a pharmacy that can help lighten your teeth. Some options include whitening toothpaste, strips, and mouthwash, but the results of these vary greatly. Whitening products made by leading dental products manufacturers such as Crest Whitestrips are generally safe to use, but will not give you the results of a dental-grade product. These are typically the cheapest whitening products available.
Products that are widely advertised on social media may or may not work, and they are often more expensive than the professional-strength take-home kit you can buy at the dentist. They may not be especially safe. Use caution with any product you order online.
What to Know About Teeth Whitening and Sensitive Teeth
As many as 40 million adults in the U.S. will experience sensitive teeth at some point in their lives. If you have sensitive teeth, it is important to talk with your dentist about the potential for increased sensitivity from whitening. They may recommend that you begin using a special toothpaste designed for sensitivity before your whitening treatment. They may also recommend that you apply a desensitizer before your treatment.
If you choose to whiten your teeth at home, you need to exercise caution and only leave the whitening agent on your teeth for the recommended time. Falling asleep with a whitening agent on your teeth, for example, can increase sensitivity.
Protecting Your Gums While Whitening Your Teeth
The soft tissues of the gums can become easily irritated if the whitening agent comes in contact with them. At an in-office whitening treatment, the dentist or hygienist will protect your gums and lips before starting your treatment.
If you’re using a take-home kit you need to make sure that the whitening agent does not come in contact with the gums. If it does, wipe it off immediately with a damp, soft cloth. If you feel a burning sensation in your gums, remove your trays and rinse your mouth with water.
Schedule an Appointment for Teeth Whitening in Golden Valley, MN
If you’d like to learn more about teeth whitening, schedule an appointment at Schaus Dental Studio today. Dr. Paul V. Schaus will be happy to help you select the type of whitening treatment best for your goals and budget. To schedule an appointment, call 763-525-0306.