If you have just had your teeth whitened, you are probably thrilled with your bright, new smile and want to do everything to make it last as long as possible. Even if you haven’t had your teeth whitened and just have naturally bright teeth, you may also be looking for a way to keep your teeth from becoming stained and discolored. While some stains will inevitably form over time, there are some things you can do in order to keep your teeth white. Here are five different ways you can accomplish this:
Practice Daily Dental Hygiene
The first step to keeping your teeth white is to keep them clean and free from decay. The way to do this is to practice daily dental hygiene such as brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. It may also be beneficial to use mouthwash once a day since it can prevent plaque accumulation. Although plaque itself is colorless, it can trap the colored pigments that cause stains to form. While brushing your teeth, be sure to use a fluoridated toothpaste on a regular basis and a whitening toothpaste about 1-2 times a week. Fluoride will help keep your enamel strong, while whitening toothpaste will help to remove stains.
Use an Electric Toothbrush
If you don’t already have an electric toothbrush, it is highly recommended that you get one. This is because electric toothbrushes can more effectively clean your teeth when compared to a manual toothbrush. Additionally, some electric toothbrushes have features such as sensors to prevent brushing too hard and timers to make sure you are brushing for at least two minutes. Overall, electric toothbrushes can be used to keep your teeth much cleaner, which can help to extend the lifespan of whitening results.
Watch Your Diet
The foods and beverages you consume directly affect the color of your teeth, therefore it is important to pay attention to your diet. Some foods and beverages contain more pigments than others, and these highly pigmented foods and beverages are more likely to stain your teeth. Additionally, how often you consume highly pigmented foods and beverages also affects how quickly your teeth will stain. For example, someone who drinks coffee daily will likely experience stains on their teeth sooner than someone who regularly drinks water. To keep your teeth whiter for longer, try eating foods such as carrots, broccoli, apples, pineapples, strawberries, and dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and milk.
Rinse After Meals
Since it is just about impossible to eliminate all pigmented foods and beverages from your diet, the next best way to avoid stains is to rinse your mouth directly after consuming them. Rinsing your mouth with water or milk after meals can help wash away excess pigments and dilute the ones that remain. This decreases the severity of the stain and can even prevent some stains from forming. Depending on how pigmented the food or beverage is, it may also be advisable to use mouthwash or brush your teeth 20 minutes after a meal.
Schedule Cleanings and Touch Ups
In addition to daily dental hygiene, you will also need to schedule regular dental cleanings every six months. During these cleanings, excess plaque and tartar are removed from the surface of your teeth in order to keep your teeth clean and brighter in color. Depending on your individual case, your dentist may also provide you with take-home whitening trays to use as directed to maintain the white color of your teeth. Eventually, however, it is likely that you will need to have another whitening treatment to maintain your results. This is because most whitening treatments tend to last about 1-3 years.
Dr. Roman Fedorciw has been in private practice in Cromwell since 1991. He is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Dental Association. He is also a member of the Connecticut Dental Association and Middlesex County Dental Association. Dr. Fedorciw has been acknowledged by his peers as one of the “Top Dentists” in Hartford County by Hartford Magazine and in the state of Connecticut by Connecticut Magazine.