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Monday, September 12, 2011

Everyday Teeth Whitening

Have you ever have your teeth professionally whitened?  I have, once.  It was part of a benefit I once was offered as part of my job as being a professional dancer.  I was offered the ZOOM Whitening treatment, and I thought - why the heck not? I'll try it!

The process took a little over an hour and I went through 3 different treatments, 20 minutes each.  It didn't really hurt, but with each treatment my teeth became a little more sensitive, and by the third one I was really feeling it.  But, I got through it an by the end of the visit I had noticeably whiter teeth.  I was flashing smiles everywhere, and truly felt more confident.

In-office treatments, like ZOOM are said to last up to six months.  Have I gotten another whitening treatment since then? No.  For one reason, I haven't been offered any since then and these types of treatments aren't something I can just spend extra money on.  In-office whitening treatments have a national average of costing $650, and professionally dispensed take-home whitening kits from the dentist office averages anywhere from $100-$400.

Teeth Bleaching vs. Whitening

The following information I found from

"According to the FDA, the term "bleaching" is permitted to be used only when the teeth can be whitened beyond their natural color. This applies strictly to products that contain bleach – typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The term "whitening," on the other hand, refers to restoring a tooth's surface color by removing dirt and debris. So any product that cleans (like a toothpaste) is considered a whitener. Of course, the term whitening sounds better than bleaching, so it is more frequently used – even when describing products that contain bleach."

After reading this, even if cost wasn't a factor I'm not sure if I would want to do another in-office whitening treatment. Instead, I would rather do something less drastic to whiten my teeth on a gradual, everyday basis.  So, I'm introducing to you my everyday teeth whitening routine:

The way I see it, keeping your pearly whites white is just as easy as practicing good oral hygiene.  It's important to brush at least twice a day, floss once a day and get your teeth cleaned by a dentist every 6 months.  Not only will this help you fight cavities, but it will keep your teeth at their brightest of white potential!

I don't do anything out of the ordinary, I just use everything necessary to keep my mouth healthy with a whitening version of it.  What am I talking about? Here is my all-star list of teeth cleaning tools.  These are MY favorites, but when choosing tools for own your whitening regime, it's important to choose what feels comfortable for YOU in each category: 

Toothpaste: I'm going to have to go with any kind of Crest Whitening product.  Recently, I've been loving the Whitening + Scope flavor, and it feels a little more gentle.  Pictured above is Crest Complete, and I would recommend getting a Complete or Pro-Health version of your whitening toothpaste.  Whitening is great, but having an all around health focused toothpaste  protects against tooth sensitivity and helps fight tartar, plaque, stains, gingivitis and bad breath. 

Toothbrush: Oral-B Vibrating Pulsar.  Having a toothbrush with a built in vibrating motion really helps you get into all of the tiny spaces in-between your teeth, on your gumline and even on your tongue.  There are lots of fancy electric toothbrushes out there with replaceable heads and different speeds equipped with a rechargeable battery.  I personally prefer the throw away version of the electric toothbrush because of the medium brush size, versus the usual small circle pattern of brushes on most.  I've tried a lot of different brands and sizes, and the Oral-B Pulsar is what I've stuck to for the past 5 years or so.  They come in single or value-double packs and I replace it when the battery runs out, which is usually about every month.  

Floss:  I know there are a lot of you who just skip over this step completely...BOO! Flossing is just as important as brushing, and is essential to getting everything out in-between your teeth that your toothbrush just won't reach.  I recommend Crest Glide (pictured), or any other coated dental floss, because it slides easily between teeth.  Of course, pictured is the whitening version of this, but just flossing in general with anything that can get between your teeth, doesn't fray or break easily is good.

and last, but certainly not least...

Rinse - My hands down FAVORITE whitening product out there: Listerine Whitening Pre-Brush Rinse.   This brand comes in a few different versions, including a Regular strength, Multi-Action Vibrant White (pictured) for extra whitening and a Whitening + Restoring version.  

I have tried all three, and rotate between the Multi-Action and Whitening + Restoring when I run out of one.  Simply use this rinse for 60 seconds BEFORE you brush, at least once a day but no more than twice a day.  I am so confident in this one that I would guarantee you will notice a difference in your shade of white after a few weeks, as well as how clean and healthy your teeth feel after each brush.  Since I started using this rinse over 6 years ago, I can't go more than a few days without it and even bring a travel version with me on trips longer than a weekend.  Thanks, make me smile! :)
So there you go, 3 easy steps every day to a brighter, whiter & healthier smile!  On top of keeping a good oral hygiene routine, there are a few other things you can do to prevent stains on your teeth:
  • Keep your mouth hydrated with plenty of water.  This does more than quench your thirst, it helps produce natural saliva.  Why does that matter?  Saliva coats your teeth which can reverse the damage we inflict on them by drinking sodas, eating sugary candies or anything else that strips off the enamel.  
  • Try to limit the intake of dark colored liquids, and if possible drink those liquids through a straw.  Drinks like coffee, red wine and colas can stain your teeth easily if your hygiene isn't tip-top.  The more you brush, the more stains you're removing (just don't go OCD on me!)
  • Brush your tongue!  Go ahead and stick that baby out.  Tongue brushing will not only help keep your breath it's freshest, but it will remove even more bacteria every time you brush your teeth.  In turn, you will get a healthier and brighter, whiter smile.

I hope this helps anyone like myself who can't stand those pesky whitening strips.  Keep up the good hygiene & confidence and go show off your pearly whites!

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