A whiter smile is spring’s freshest accessory
When it comes to prepping for spring races and the many springtime weddings, it’s all about the details. Between finding the perfect pair of shoes and headwear, you might have forgotten about one of the best accessories for all those photo ops: a whiter smile.
Teeth whitening is popular, but you need to approach it cautiously in order to ensure you’re still protecting your oral health. When administered correctly, teeth whitening should be both safe and help you look your best.
What causes teeth discolouration?
There are lots of reasons why you might want to refresh your smile. Teeth discolouration can result from factors like age, medication or even genetics. Nonetheless, how we treat our teeth can often have the biggest impact.
Smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee or red wine are notorious culprits, but there are also some healthy favourites that double as sources for discolouration. Foods like beetroot, cherries, blueberries and other dark foods can stain teeth, despite being nutritious (and delicious). If you don’t want to give up your favourite berries, but you still want a whiter smile for spring, then teeth whitening might be an option.
Is whitening treatment right for me?
There could be underlying oral health issues that need to be addressed before (or instead of) seeking a whitening procedure. A thorough examination from your dentist is the best way to determine if you’re a candidate for teeth whitening, and if so, the type of treatment that will suit you best.
There are lots of teeth whitening products and kiosks – wouldn’t one of those options be easier than seeing a dentist?
There are indeed many different over-the-counter products and kiosks in shopping centres that promise to whiten your teeth, and they can be a quick, tempting option when your social calendar is full.
However, if you choose not to have your treatment handled by a dental professional, then you need to be aware of the risks. Ideally, you should still consult your dentist before committing to any product or procedure.
While teeth whitening is a safe and reliable treatment when handled by a qualified professional, there can be side effects if administered poorly or without regard to your individual dental circumstances1. These can include:
- tooth sensitivity
- enamel damage
- burns or blisters on the gum tissue
- stomach irritation
- uneven colour
- ineffective treatment, which obviously isn’t as severe a concern as the others, but who wants to spend money on something that doesn’t deliver?
Maintaining your smile during the racing and wedding season
Getting a whiter smile in time for the racing season or that one big wedding (you know the one) isn’t the only consideration. You should also make sure you’re protecting your teeth throughout the festivities, too.
Your teeth can be extra porous right after a whitening treatment, which can make them more susceptible to staining. If you’ve undergone teeth whitening right before an event, be sure to avoid dark foods and beverages for at least two days afterward. That includes wines and teas! If you simply can’t avoid dark beverages, try drinking them with a straw in order to minimise your teeth’s contact with the liquid.
Enough about what you should avoid; let’s talk about what you should be grabbing once the snacks are passed around! Opt for foods like celery, hard cheeses and apples, which promote saliva production and help break down the stains or debris that might accumulate on the surface of your enamel.
Also be sure to make time for cleans and visits as advised by your dentist. Coupled with a regular oral hygiene routine at home, professional teeth cleaning is one of the most reliable ways to ensure your teeth are healthy and looking their best!
1 Australian Dental Association. "What can go wrong?" http://www.toothwhiteningfacts.com.au/What-can-go-wrong.htm