Dental Health Topics

The Do's and Don’ts of Teeth Whitening

These days, it seems like everyone’s looking for easy ways to whiten their teeth. 

The internet is chock-full of home remedies for a whiter smile, and you’ll find whitening products galore at your local store. And, of course, your dentist has some great options for you as well. 

With so many choices available, how do you know what to go with? 

In general, there are rules of thumb you should follow when looking to whiten your teeth – if you want to keep your teeth both white and healthy, that is. 

Here are some Do's and Don’ts to guide you along the way:

Do ...

Ask your dentist for tips 

Your dentist can guide you in a whitening method that will be best for your situation.

It’s especially important to ask if any dental work you’ve done may affect the whitening process. That way you don’t end up with teeth that are different colors. 

Visit your dentist regularly 

Along with speaking with the dentist about whitening, you’ll want to keep up with your regular cleanings.

You don’t want to whiten teeth that have any plaque or tartar buildup. You also don’t want whitening agents getting into cavities.  

Be aware of what stains teeth 

First and foremost, tobacco use is not doing your teeth or your health any favors. Second, be aware of foods that can stain your teeth.

In general, if they can stain your white carpet, they can stain your teeth. This includes coffee, dark juices, wine, tea, blackberries, food dyes, etc.

If having white teeth is your goal, consider lowering your intake of these, or make sure to swish with water immediately after consuming.  

Follow instructions 

Don’t let whitening agents sit on your teeth any longer than you’re instructed to. Doing so could damage teeth or increase tooth and gum sensitivity.  

Don’t ...

Use activated charcoal, baking soda, or lemon juice

In general, home remedies like these are not ideal for maintaining the health of your teeth.

Activated charcoal and baking soda are abrasive, and can damage your enamel (making your teeth more porous and prone to stain).

And lemon juice (or anything acidic) is not something you want to brush into your teeth. 

Whiten teeth if pregnant or breastfeeding 

There’s not yet enough research to support the safety of whitening your teeth while pregnant. Best to err on the side of caution here. 

Whiten your teeth too often

Doing so can lead to sensitivity issues that last far longer than that pearly white sheen. Ask your dentist about the right frequency to whiten.

Store teeth whitening products in direct sunlight or heat

This can damage the whitening agents and, sadly, waste your money. 

Use expired products

They just won’t be nearly as effective.