It was once generally accepted that the color of people’s teeth was just not created equal. Teeth like hair color came in various shades. Sometimes it was due to a naturally occurring phenomenon like genes, illness or medication. Other times it was by one's own hand from poor hygiene habits, smoking or drinking beverages like tea, coffee or colas. It was a choice you made.
Today, we are a nation obsessed with cosmetic fixes. The natural aging process is no longer accepted without a fight. Wrinkles and sagging necklines will soon be a thing of the past, thanks to Botox® and plastic surgery. Yellowing teeth are also on that endangered list with getting teeth their whitest white at the top of most people’s to do list.
The best way to whiten teeth is under a dentist’s care with in-office procedures and dentist prescribed at-home care kits. The dentist will choose the best solution for you and control the frequency of repeat procedures. These procedures, unfortunately, can be costly ranging in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars and most likely are not covered by insurance.
Over the counter solutions are readily available and can be as low as $6 for a tube of whitening toothpaste or rinse, and upward to $30 and beyond for whitening kits. While a major savings from the dentist-dispensed kits, they also lack the professional advice, follow-up treatment and care. They are also most likely to be abused by those who feel that having super white teeth is something they just can’t do without.
The question is, “How white is white enough?” Unfortunately, the answer still remains to be seen. In fact, many are retouching their teeth so often that people are joking about the new addiction affectionately known as “bleachorexia.” (1) This problem is not at all amusing though because many people are doing real damage to their teeth and gums, wearing away tooth enamel and burning gum tissue causing painful sensitivity.
As Moms everywhere have always said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Mom always knew best didn’t she?
To prevent discoloration from beverages like coffee and colas, some people believe that drinking from a straw can help. This may be okay for cold drinks, but not many people are willing to include this as a utensil with their piping hot morning cup.
Here is a more sensible plan:
Be aware of how you drink. Are you swishing the beverage around in your mouth or bathing your teeth in it? If so try to change this habit. Use your top lip to protect your front teeth. Direct your coffee to your tongue and then straight back to your throat.
Other good habits include:
-Rinsing your mouth immediately afterward
-Brushing with a whitening toothpaste
-Using a whitening rinse
Be sure to do this 2x a day and see your dentist for a cleaning every six months.
Many chewing gums like Trident White have whitening ingredients as well and sugarless gum in general is recommended after meals to help avoid tooth decay when you can’t brush.
Put together a plan to prevent yellowing teeth today and use any whitening procedures in moderation.
1-“Blindingly white: Teeth bleaching gone too far”
The Onion (Satire)
“U.S. Dentists Can't Make Nation's Teeth Any Damn Whiter”
Personal Blog: Morning! (Morning rants of a caffeinated writer)