8 Ways to (Safely) Achieve a Whiter Smile
The question I get asked by far the most as a dentist is, “how can I get a whiter smile?”
It honestly makes sense! Having a bright smile is something that most people desire, but it can SEEM daunting and even a bit elusive. So many questions… Do I need to get veneers for a whiter smile? Does whitening toothpaste work? Will whitening damage my teeth?
Not to mention, every moment we are inundated with Instagram ads and sponsored products depicting the latest and greatest whitening solutions, it can be hard to see through the noise and pick what actually works best and is also the safest solution!
So, I’ve decided to countdown the 8 best ways to whiten your teeth that not only have proven results—but are actually safe too!
8. No smoking or using tobacco
This one is a no-brainer! Not only can smoking kill you, it also causes external tooth staining and ages your teeth prematurely. Even THC can often lead to a dry mouth, which can actually cause more staining and yellowing of teeth. You are better off not exposing your teeth and gums to the nicotine and tar in cigarettes or tobacco—as it definitely causes yellow & brown streaks in a short period of time!
Added bonus of quitting
It can only improve your overall health and bad breath too! Stay tuned for more on this in a future blog…
7. Brush with baking soda and peroxide
This is a safe, affordable, and surprisingly effective teeth whitening method. Take a small bowl of baking soda, mix in a few drops of water and/or hydrogen peroxide, dip your toothbrush in it, and brush as normal. Although your tongue might initially want to protest the salty and frothy concoction, your whiter teeth will thank you. And this is even safe for young kids!
Confession: my kids have a small bowl of baking soda in their bathrooms for this very reason!
6. Switch to an electric toothbrush
This can be underrated, but it truly is so important! Studies have shown that regular use of a high quality electric toothbrush not only reduces plaque around the gums by up to 80%, but actually removes stain more effectively than a manual toothbrush ever will!
Let’s be honest, all electric toothbrushes are not created equal. So do you actually *need* all the bells and whistles that some of those electric toothbrushes come with? Although it can be super cool to have an app and be able to track exactly how many minutes you brushed on average this last week, you can also do a more basic electric toothbrush that does the job and is just as effective. In other words, some of the upgraded features on certain electric toothbrush brands are by no means necessary for you to achieve great whitening results.
5. Use a whitening toothpaste
There are many whitening toothpastes on the market that have some of those extra abrasives eg, baking soda, to help brighten your pearly whites! It’s totally okay to use these long term, as long as you don’t get too much tooth sensitivity or have worn-down enamel.
Remember, there is a difference between intrinsic whitening and extrinsic! These toothpastes fall short of actually whitening your teeth intrinsically, but they can definitely counteract pigmented foods from sticking to your tooth surface and reducing surface stains. For intrinsic stain removal, read on!
4. Apply over-the-counter whitening strips
Technology has come a long way here and most strips do a pretty good job of whitening your teeth. Just beware, not everyone is a candidate or will get great results with these strips, especially if you have cosmetic facial bonding, ceramic crowns or overlapping teeth, as these may cause uneven whitening results. This is something that can definitely help with both the intrinsic and extrinsic staining, but it’s important that you are using the right kind for your teeth.
For best results, consult us or your dentist for further info.
3. Get a professional cleaning with ultrasonic scaler and polish
If you’re reading this and you’re looking to whiten your teeth, a regular checkup and cleaning may be all you need to achieve a brighter smile. Yellow plaque and tartar can build above and below the gums and this can make your teeth look more yellow than they actually are. It also is just a good idea to get a checkup to assess your individual oral health status. At our Sayva Dental Culver City office, we do a comprehensive gum evaluation, evaluate overall gum and bone health, and check for cavities each time a patient walks in.
A good cleaning really CAN solve most of life’s problems :)
2. Professional in-office whitening treatment
This is by far the quickest way to get whiter teeth, as results can happen after only an hour! Perfect for those who like immediate gratification and don’t like to wait. Normally a whitening session at our Culver office entails placing a carbamide peroxide gel onto the teeth in 2-3 sessions of 15 min each. Total treatment time can be up to 1- 1.5 hours.
Disclaimer and PSA: Some dentists may suggest using a UV light during the procedure. Studies have shown that the light only serves to dehydrate the teeth and cause further sensitivity, rather than better results. At Sayva Dental we use a highly concentrated gel, do multiple sessions, and take the time to explain the full office procedure instructions as well as post op care.
1. Custom whitening trays made by a dentist
By far, custom whitening trays are the best method of whitening your teeth that will give you superior results AND also will allow you to maintain the results for months and years to come, is custom whitening trays. These whitening gel trays are custom fabricated by us based on a custom mold and bite taken of your teeth.
Once you get the trays made, we will give you professional strength whitening gel that you can place in the trays, which will then be placed in your mouth, and voila… Pearly whites while reading a book in bed or even watching White Lotus! What’s even better is that you have your trays indefinitely and you can continue to whiten as long and as much as you desire to maintain your results.
This is by far my most preferred method of whitening, and one that I reach for myself on the regular.
Although the 8 techniques above will definitely achieve a brighter smile, please remember, whiter teeth don’t always equate to healthier teeth…and I always recommend seeing a dentist before starting any of the above.
Consult with us today for further information and see what type of whitening treatments you might be a candidate for. In most cases, it’s easier to achieve a whiter and more beautiful smile than we realize!