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Before you try teeth whitening, you want to be confident that it’s going to be worth it. And while the whitening experience does depend on your whitening system and provider experience, you’re also a part of the equation. Your enamel is constantly going through cycles of staining and cleansing – and you can make sure that the possibilities for staining are cut short. Below, we have a whitening primer to answer all your questions about keeping a bright grin in place as long as possible.
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How Long Do Teeth Whitening Results Typically Last?
Each whitening experience is unique. Results can last anywhere from six months to two years. Some studies have shown results even lasting up to 10 years. It’s important to remember that whitening is not permanent treatment. Bleaching your teeth removes staining compounds from tiny holes in your enamel. But after you return to life as usual, stains will build back up.
That’s not to say that you’re hopeless against stains returning. The life of your whitening results is a little different for everyone, but it’s determined by some of the following factors:
- Daily habits – If you use tobacco, you should know that it’s one of the top culprits behind tooth stains. Both smoking and chewing tobacco lead to yellow teeth (along with a wide variety of health risks). If you grind your teeth, this erodes your enamel, which allows the inner layer of dentin to show through. Enamel is white and dentin is yellow, so the loss of the first leads to general discoloration.
- Your favorite foods and drinks – Coffee addicts tend to see stained teeth, with the dark beverage building up within their enamel. Red wine is also a problematic drink, as is cola. Dark and acidic beverages are especially tough, since they both stain and erode enamel.
- Oral hygiene – Brushing and flossing remove bacteria from your teeth. If you have plaque buildup, removing it will reveal a whiter smile. Regular oral hygiene will also help prevent deeper stains, as you remove staining agents before they have a chance to really set.
- Intensity of results – Depending on the whitening you receive, your results may be more or less intense than another patient’s. If you’ve whitening your teeth a number of shades, those results will last longer than just a single shade. This is one reason why professional teeth whitening is longer-lasting than home whitening. After you whiten your teeth, ask your dentist how long you can expect your new grin to last.
How White Should My Teeth Be?
Of course, you never want to take your teeth too white – this can have just an unsettling an effect as stained teeth. When your smile is overly white, it detracts from the rest of your face. You want all your features to complement one another equally. A general rule is that you don’t want to whiten your teeth lighter than the whites of your eyes. If you whiten at home, make sure to follow instructions so that you whiten safely and have ideal results.
How Can I Help Boost Whitening Results at Home?
- Avoid tobacco – If you’re a tobacco user, you’ve probably tried to quit at some point in the past. Make a whiter smile another point of motivation for cutting cigarettes out of your life – start by exploring quitting resources online.
- Limit staining beverages – If you drink coffee every morning, we’re not saying that you have to quit caffeine – just try to rinse with water afterwards. The same goes for red wine, black tea, and cola.
- Use a straw when possible – Drinking one of those problem beverages with a straw helps keep the liquid from bathing your enamel.
- Drink plenty of water – Water not only rinses stains away from the surface of your enamel, but also helps cleanse your mouth after a snack or after lunch. Plus, it hydrates your entire body and helps you feel great throughout the day.
- Do home touch-ups – You can touch up your whitening at home with an ADA-approved whitening kit. Alternately, you may prefer to revisit the office or have a whitening session after your next cleaning.
- Schedule regular exams – Teeth cleaning removes plaque to help brighten your smile. Plus, it’s an opportunity to spot & stop cavities before they grow. Most patients should schedule exams every six months – set your next visit up today!