Want to whiten your teeth? Here are four ways to get started. By Dawn Chen
Whiten teeth with these expert tips. Photo: 123RF.com/Piotr Marcinski
Looking to get whiter, brighter teeth but don’t know where to start? Follow these four easy tips from Dr Steven Soo, a dental specialist in prosthodontics (an expertise in tooth restoration and repair) from Specialist Dental Group, on the do’s and don’ts of teeth whitening.
1. Use a straw
It’s quite impossible to avoid all beverages that stain your teeth (imagine having to abstain from coffee, tea, wine, juice, sweetened drinks etc.) but you can do your best to mitigate the effects. If you’ll be drinking something that will stain your teeth, use a straw where possible. This helps to reduce direct contact between the beverage and your teeth.
2. Keep your mouth clean
After eating or drinking, rinse your mouth with water then brush your teeth 30 to 45 minutes later. “After eating food or drinking something that has sugar, the bacteria in our mouths interact with the sugar to form acids. These acids ‘attack’ tooth enamel, weakening it,” explains Dr Soo. Hence, brushing your teeth right after eating damages tooth enamel, causing more harm than good.
3. Approach over-the-counter (OTC) products with caution
Whitening toothpastes may contain special abrasive ingredients and chemicals (such as sodium tripolyphosphate and calcium pyrophosphate) that can remove the outer, superficial stains on the tooth’s enamel. These teeth whitening products usually help to polish the tooth, rather than actually changing its colour. Dr Soo cautions that using such toothpastes over long periods of time may eventually weaken your tooth enamel, and cause teeth to be more sensitive. If you’d like to go ahead with an OTC whitening product, consult your dentist first and follow the instructions carefully.
4. Consider going pro
Your best bet for getting whiter teeth is actually an in-clinic whitening treatment done by a dental professional. He or she will be able to determine the best teeth whitening treatment for you, and will be able to carry out the procedure safely.