Everyone wants a healthy smile—and a healthy-looking smile. For most, that means whiter teeth. But teeth whitening brings up a lot of questions, and it’s important to know some of the answers before investing in the procedure. So, what are the most common questions surrounding teeth whitening?
Is teeth whitening safe?
Safety is always a concern for any dental or cosmetic procedure. The short answer is that yes, teeth whitening is safe. Still, there are other things to consider before signing up to have your teeth whitened.
Some research has introduced concerns that hydrogen peroxide (the typical whitening agent used) can damage inner layers of the teeth, or can soften the surface of the teeth. However, these studies have not been proven, and the American Dental Association considers hydrogen peroxide products to be safe and effective on teeth.
Additionally, while teeth whitening may not be dangerous, it could be uncomfortable for some. It’s best to talk to your dentist about whether or not teeth whitening is a good option for you, and about the method to use to whiten your teeth.
What teeth whitening methods are available?
There are at home options, including strips, rinses, and even daily-use toothpastes. There are also options for professional whitening treatments that are done in a dental office. Consult with your dentist about which method is best for you.
What if I have sensitive teeth?
Sensitivity in the teeth and/or gums is one of the biggest concerns people have when considering teeth whitening. If you already have sensitive teeth or gums, that sensitivity may increase with the use of a whitening product. That said, some products and procedures have come a long way in reducing that sensitivity and making the entire experience more comfortable.
How often can I have my teeth whitened?
This depends on the method you use to whiten your teeth. If you’re whitening your teeth at home (with strips), most products will recommend treatment every 4-6 months. A professional treatment done in a dental office can last a year or longer.
Whitening your teeth too often can lead to increased sensitivity and/or translucency in the teeth, so it’s important to only whiten when necessary and according to a recommended schedule.
How can I keep my teeth whiter between treatments?
Good oral hygiene is necessary for maintaining your whiter smile. Brush and floss twice a day, visit the dentist for a cleaning twice a year, and try to avoid foods that commonly stain the teeth, like coffee, soda, and wine. Smoking is also known to discolor the teeth, so quitting is a great way to improve your oral (and overall) health.
Now that you know that teeth whitening is safe, talk to your dentist if you’d like to explore the possibility of whitening your teeth. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction to help you get (and keep) a brighter, whiter smile!