Teeth Whitening 101: What You Should Know Before You Brighten Your Smile

September 15, 2015 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

A bright, white smile signifies good health and can take the place of any cosmetic in your bag of tricks. But, no matter how diligent you are in your dental care or how often you visit a dentist, pearly whites don’t come naturally to many people. Considering the many teeth whitening options at our disposal these days, there’s no reason why you should settle for a less than stellar smile. That being said, it isn’t always easy to decide which course of action is best for you and when you’re over-doing it. Luckily,  Dr. Ramzi Matar of Winter Park Family Dentistry is here to explain everything you need to know before you take the plunge.

SHEfinds: How often should we whiten our teeth?

Dr. Ramzi Matar: I usually recommend patients touch up 1-2 twice per year after their dental cleanings. Whitening is most effective after getting your teeth cleaned due to the fact that the plaque is removed from your teeth, making the gel more effective to penetrate the tooth.

SF: Is there such a thing as making your teeth too white? 

RM: Every person’s teeth have biological limits to how white they can/will get depending on persons individual anatomy.

SF: How can you tell if you’re going overboard with whitening products?

RM: If your teeth are not getting any whitener and/or if you have tooth sensitivity, that is an indication to stop or slow down the whitening process.

SF: Are there any health hazards associated with whitening products?

RM: There is no long term damage currently noted from teeth whitening; sensitivity while whitening is common but always goes away if you slow down treatment. Once sensitivity is gone one can re-start the process.

SF: What in-office whitening procedures do you recommend? 

RM: I often recommend Ultradent Opal-Go kits (10 day take home kit with higher concentration gel than OTC); 90% of my patients are happy with the results of this and cost is more affordable  at around $90. For longer term whitening or for heavy stains (smokers) I can recommend a take home custom tray with 9% hydrogen peroxide gel that involves a nightly 20 minute application, but is a little more pricey at about $300.

SF: What OTC products do you suggest? 

RM: Crest 3D White Luxe Supreme FlexFit is my current recommendation for OTC whitening.

SF: What are some natural ways to keep your teeth bright? 

RM: Natural methods include putting cream in coffee and not smoking. Charcoal whitening has been getting some press recently, but there is no scientific evidence that it works. And of course, see your dentist regularly for cleanings.

For more beauty tips, check out Baking: The latest beauty trend you need to know and 6 fall beauty myths–debunked!


[Photo: Imaxtree]


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

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