Professional whitening is effective at removing years of stains and discoloration from the teeth. Whether you are looking to boost your confidence or are going to be attending a wedding, reunion, or another big event, a bright and white smile is sure to improve your appearance.
Expert whitening is performed in the dental office or is provided to you using a professional-grade take-home kit. Either way, whitening results can last for months or even years, and maintaining your results is key to ensuring that you’ll always have a gorgeous smile.
In light of this, you may be wondering, how often should you whiten your teeth to see these long-lasting results? Here’s everything you need to know about why teeth whitening is important and how to maintain your teeth whitening results.
Why Should I Whiten My Teeth?
Many dentists will say that teeth whitening is purely cosmetic. At Definitive Dental, we like to say that it’s largely cosmetic, but there are some practical oral health benefits that come from professional whitening.
The number-one reason that our patients choose to whiten is that they are not happy with the color of their teeth. If you are a smoker; drink a lot of coffee, tea, or cola; or you’re taking certain medications, you may notice that your teeth aren’t as white as they used to be. Likewise, just the act of aging can have a serious impact on the way your smile looks. By professionally whitening your teeth, you can expect dramatic results that help to increase your self-esteem and confidence, as well as make a better first impression in public.
While some staining is not necessarily an indicator of tooth decay, great attention to the causes of staining often leads to better overall oral health. Knowing how to maintain teeth whitening can lead to new habits that reduce your risk of cavities.
Why Not Simply Brush More Often?
Sometimes brushing alone is not enough to make your teeth as white as you would like them to be. Even though we call them “pearly whites,” teeth are not naturally pure white.
Each tooth consists of enamel and dentin, which make the tooth look a bit off-white. Even the most vigorous tooth brushing will not make teeth perfectly white. This is especially true if you were born with darker dentin.
In addition, certain foods and drinks — like coffee and dark sodas — will stain your teeth. So, even if you’re brushing each day, it can be difficult to remove that brownish tint.
Finally, it is important to realize that brushing and flossing are not intended to whiten your teeth. Your goal when brushing is to remove the buildup of plaque, or the soft film that forms on teeth after you eat. Brushing is also meant to prevent cavities. The goal is to clean, not polish.
Given the above, teeth whitening is the best option for transforming your smile into a snow-white Hollywood smile. Here’s how often you should whiten your teeth to keep them looking beautiful and healthy.
How Often Should You Whiten Your Teeth?
Every day? No! It is best to avoid whitening your teeth too often. Over-whitening your teeth can lead to issues with hypersensitivity or, in rare cases, damage the enamel.
The exact time frame of how often you should whiten your teeth will vary from patient to patient, but we typically recommend treatment no more frequently than once per year. This prevents issues involving sensitivity and helps with creating a natural-looking smile. The benefit of utilizing professional whitening is that the results typically last for about one year. This simply means you won’t feel the need to touch up or go with another whitening system because of how drastic the change is when you’re using a professional whitening option.
How Often You Should Whiten Your Teeth in the Office
You should ideally undergo an in-office teeth whitening session every 12-24 months. How often you should whiten your teeth in the dental office setting will ultimately depend on how quickly your teeth lose their brightness. Your dentist can evaluate your smile after six months and let you know when another teeth whitening session may be appropriate.
How Often You Should Whiten Your Teeth at Home
Over-the-counter whitening trays are less effective than professional in-office treatment, so the results will wear off sooner. Still, you should whiten your teeth at home no more than once every six months. An easy way to remember this is to start a whitening treatment between your regular dental checkups. For example, if you have dental cleanings scheduled for January and July, you could use whitening strips in April and October for a year-round polished look.
Remember, it is important to not overuse whitening strips. Doing so has potential negative side effects such as wearing down your tooth enamel. This may increase your risk of developing cavities and make your teeth more sensitive.
How Often Should You Do Touch-Ups When You Whiten Your Teeth?
Always contact your dentist before you begin if you feel that you should touch up your teeth with a whitening agent more than twice per year.
Some reasons for more frequent staining include:
- Heavy smoking
- Dark-colored beverages such as coffee and tea
- Certain medications such as iron supplements
Some genetic factors that contribute to tooth coloration are unavoidable, but many of the most common causes of tooth staining are due to lifestyle factors. These you can address.
How Can I Maintain My Results?
In addition to exploring how often you should whiten your teeth, you might be wondering how to maintain your teeth whitening results. The best way to prevent the need for touch-ups is to avoid future staining and discoloration of the teeth. If you’re a smoker, now is the best time to quit and a great way to extend the length of your results.
For you avid coffee drinkers, don’t worry. It is not necessary to quit drinking coffee, but you can make a few small changes. Consider drinking dark beverages through a straw to avoid contact with your teeth, or rinse your mouth with water after a cup of coffee or tea so the staining liquid does not linger on your teeth.
You may also want to consider using a whitening toothpaste to clear away stains and discoloration before they can get worse. The best whitening toothpaste has the following qualities:
- Features bleaching chemicals (e.g., peroxide) versus abrasives
- Contains fluoride
- Includes silica
- Does not have dyes or artificial sweeteners
Avoid whitening toothpaste with abrasives, as abrasives may remove your enamel over time. In addition, make sure that your whitening toothpaste contains fluoride, which can help you to fight cavities
You may also want to look for toothpaste brands that use 100% recyclable packaging and vegan formulas, as this will help with protecting the environment. Also, use toothpaste with silica if sensitive gums and teeth are a problem for you. Steer clear of whitening toothpaste that contains dyes and artificial sweeteners, as they can increase inflammation and may even cause the development of cancerous tumors.
Your dentist will help you to determine how often you should whiten your teeth based on your unique situation.
Avoid DIY Whitening
We do not recommend DIY methods to maintain teeth whitening results. You may find suggestions online for baking soda and hydrogen peroxide solutions, but applying a homemade mixture can lead to harmful side effects.
Learn How to Maintain Teeth Whitening Results at Definitive Dental
At Definitive Dental, we’re excited to further share with you in person how often you should whiten your teeth and how to maintain your teeth whitening results. Our goal is to provide exceptional whitening services as well as other dental services, such as dental fillings and crowns, in a family-friendly environment. Dr. Peter Guirguis and his staff are available to answer any questions you may have, and we welcome all new patients to our dental clinic in Grand Prairie, TX!
Ready to take your smile to new heights? Get in touch with us to learn more about how often you should whiten your teeth and schedule an appointment today!