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Dentists will usually argue that you are better off getting teeth whitened under their care for numerous reasons. Financially, they benefit from undertaking the job for their clients and the procedure is certainly expensive. Trays and other tools are custom-made to fit over a person’s teeth and not his gums.
Light treatments, also available from some dentists, are expensive too but effective and bleach-free. Dentists will say their professional touch acts more quickly, lasts longer, and is safer. Isn’t there some way to whiten teeth that is not so costly but still works?
There are lots of methods, all available for application at home, but they aren’t usually approved. Also, you won’t see results as quickly and their efficacy depends on how closely customers follow instructions. In some cases, it’s not a good idea to use a product because of the condition of your teeth or because of sensitivity to certain ingredients. Exercise caution before spending a fortune.
Teeth Whitening at Home
Products for use at home receive mixed ratings from consumers. The simplest items are toothpastes and rinses since these fit naturally into your regular dental routine.
If you do no usually rinse, adding mouthwash to your oral hygiene sequence isn’t time consuming. Teeth whitening gels and strips offer other options. Let’s consider the relative values of each method.
Toothpaste, the Natural Choice
Scan the toothpaste section at your grocery or drug store and there will be so many choices it makes your teeth hurt. There are pastes for sensitive teeth, cavity prevention, and teeth whitening.
Ultimately, every toothpaste should protect you from getting cavities if you avoid eating sweets regularly and brush as directed by your dentist. Also, brushing with any form of toothpaste cleans teeth of some stains just as washing hands gets rid of some dirt, but coffee, dark juices and sodas, and red wine will almost certainly leave residue that won’t come off with simple brushing.
Certain brands advertise pastes which tackle every angle all at once: whitening and cleaning for sensitive teeth. Whitening can make teeth more sensitive to hot and cold foods or drinks, but special pastes mitigate that problem.
Some toothpastes are better for whitening than others. They contain either baking soda or a form of peroxide bleach, the latter of which is stronger, but baking soda is natural and offers the added bonus of cleansing your mouth.
Legally, toothpaste companies can’t add as much peroxide to their products as dentists can use because their toothpaste is being used without supervision. Bleach can cause a lot of damage in high enough concentrations. Baking soda will work to a point.
Deeply stained teeth respond better to peroxide. Be sensible: allow some days to see the results and don’t expect them to last without going for a routine checkup and cleaning at your dentist. Also, effects only endure as long as you use the toothpaste and are more noticeable when you reduce the amount of coffee or red wine you drink.
This is probably the easiest whitening tool but the least effective. Although mouthwash with peroxide might do some good, it is sloshing back and forth, up and down, a few teeth at a time very briefly before being ejected from your mouth. There is also concern that mouthwash kills good bacteria which eat the bad germs around teeth and gums. You will notice some improvement, but it will be slight and subtle.
This is a more time consuming procedure done from home but has more lasting effects than toothpaste. Choose a gel infused with peroxide and you will have to brush this on, perhaps twice daily, leaving it in place for half an hour or more each time.
If you can’t last that long, the product will not be as effective, but do not leave it on too long as this could cause damage to your enamel. Still, over-the-counter examples are gentler than what a dentist offers.
At-home gels will start working in a few days but keep at it for a couple of weeks. Results are better than those you find with toothpaste and last for months if you are a candidate and the staining is not, in fact, darkening caused by disease or a dead tooth.
Significant Whitening with Strips and Trays
A similar sort of solution to the gel mentioned above is placed directly on your teeth using a strip, but this could touch your gums and you do not really want that. Bleach is not good for gum tissue. Trays can cause the same problems and they are highly inconvenient, needing to stay in place for hours, maybe overnight.
These methods plus gels, however, are solutions for a consumer with serious staining; far better than toothpaste or mouthwash, but they cost more and add many hours to the weekly oral hygiene routine. Still, if you want to see results quickly without going to the dentist, trays, gels, and strips will reduce stains significantly and quickly.