If your teeth aren’t as white as they used to be, or even as white as you would like them to be, there are numerous ways to whiten them. The dental whitening market can be a bit overwhelming and confusing, so here are some of your options to help you determine which could work for you and your budget. 

DIY Whitening Toothpaste

If you are a DIY fan, making your own toothpaste from baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can be highly effective and economical. Mix together one-part hydrogen peroxide and two parts baking soda for a bargain toothpaste that costs less than three dollars! If you want a ready to go option, look for a product in the super-market isle that contains these ingredients. The most important element here is to brush regularly, often, and with a soft toothbrush. To really step up your brushing game invest in an electric toothbrush. Not only do they remove plaque and stimulate gums better, but they also have timers to make sure you are brushing long enough.

Whitening Mouth Rinses Before and After Brushing

For a full rounded whitening routine, pre-rinse, floss, brush, then use mouthwash. The active ingredients in mouthwash loosen up buildup and food to make brushing and flossing more effective. A mouthwash after brushing gets into any gaps you’ve missed the first go around and allows the fluoride to soak into the enamel. A mouthwash that contains hydrogen peroxide and used at least twice a day for three months can significantly whiten teeth. Word of caution: avoid mouthwashes that are dark in color; the color can actually stain your teeth when the alcohol evaporates. Most companies who develop these products suggest a daily usage cycle of approximately twelve weeks in order to see expected results.

Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips & Gels

Whitening strips are extremely thin strips that are typically coated with a peroxide-based stain removal gel. Usually, you can expect initial results after a few days of use, with more complete results showing up after approximately four months of regular usage. Whitening gels can also be applied with an application brush directly to the surface of the teeth. The application directions will vary dependent upon the strength of the peroxide used in the particular tooth whitening product.

Some dental experts suggest that whitening mouthwashes may not be quite as effective as other over the counter products because the mouthwash is only in direct contact with your teeth for as little as sixty seconds, whereas other products remain in contact with the enamel longer. For example, many tooth whitening strips suggest an application of 30 minutes or longer, or 60 times as long as a typical mouth rinse application.

Due to this much shorter application cycle, mouth rinses may have less of a pronounced effect than other competing options. You may consider using a tooth whitening mouth rinse in addition to one or more of the other solutions rather than instead of them. This could provide a better result than using the mouth rinse product by itself.

Tray-Based Whitening Systems

Another tooth whitening option you might want to consider is the tray-based whitening system. These systems can be purchased either from your dentist or over-the-counter. They typically involve a mouth guard shaped tray and a tooth whitening solution that contains a peroxide enamel gel. Some pricier brands even use ultraviolet light to speed up the process. You generally wear this tray for a specified period of time ranging from a couple of hours per day to overnight. The directions may call for wearing this tray for the specified time daily for four weeks or longer, depending upon how discolored your teeth are and how many shades of whitening you desire.

Professional Whitening Treatments

Many dental offices offer professional in-office whitening treatment solutions.

  • These solutions can often provide the quickest and most effective results relative to the other products listed in this article.
  • However, they can also be the most expensive.
  • Even with the improved effectiveness of professional dental office whitening solutions, you may still need multiple treatments to achieve the results you desire, so keep that in account when considering going with this option.

Dental office treatments usually involve a whitening product that is applied directly to the teeth. The whitening solution is often combined with heat, light, or laser treatment as well. You can expect to see results in a single half-hour to one-hour treatment. To achieve more dramatic results, repeated appointments are often needed. The biggest advantage of going with a professional office treatment is that you can usually see results after one treatment, so if you need results quickly, this is often the best way to go, despite the higher price tag.

The better you feel about your teeth, the more effort you will put into its care and maintenance. Whether you choose to go with toothpaste, gels, strips, rinses or dental office treatment, having whiter teeth can provide an excellent boost to personal confidence and improve the way you feel about your overall appearance and oral health.

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