Since 1996, the number of professional teeth whitening procedures performed by dentists across the United States has increased an amazing 300%, says the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Given the ubiquity of the procedure and the wealth of information out there about it, you probably think you know everything there is to know about teeth whitening. Think again! Here are some facts about teeth whitening you must know before you start the procedure.
Teeth Whitening is an Age-Old Practice
In a document dated back to the 4th century CE, some enterprising proto-cosmetic dentist wrote down a recipe for a teeth whitening powder containing rock salt, pepper, dried flowers, and mint. Roman records show a wide array of teeth whitening ingredients, including a ground pumice stone, goat’s milk, and urine. Even well into the 18th and 19th centuries, people turned to all manner of methods to brighten their teeth, from multi-ingredient powders to folk remedies like rubbing mashed strawberries on the teeth. In the 20th century, dental researchers found that chemical compounds like hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide could produce satisfying and predictable results. Thus, modern teeth whitening systems were born.
You Really Can Turn Back the Clock with Whiter Teeth
You’ve probably heard that a whiter smile can make you look younger, but did you ever wonder how that works? Bright teeth can’t erase age spots or smooth out wrinkles but they can turn back the clock on people’s perception of you. According to a survey conducted at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, people with dull, discolored, or stained teeth were perceived as older while people sporting whiter teeth looked younger. Researchers posit this perception is due to the fact that tooth enamel is whiter when we’re young. As stains accumulate over the years, our smiles begin to look dull. Removing those stains using a professional teeth whitening treatment from your Lake Forest dentist really can make you look younger!
Teeth Whitening isn’t Permanent
The bad news: even after you use a professional whitening kit, your teeth continue to accumulate stains. The good news: you have the power to dramatically slow that staining process down! A few tips to help extend the life of your teeth whitening include:
Avoid darkly colored, staining foods as much as possible. But let’s be realistic, some of your favorite foods and drinks might include coffee, red wine, tomato sauce, or sweet cherries. So if you decide to enjoy a high-staining treat, be sure to brush or rinse your mouth after eating.
Kick the habit. Tobacco products, whether smoked or chewed, stain your teeth. Reduce or eliminate your use of these products to stay healthy and enjoy your bright smile longer.
Touch-up your smile once every few months. You can purchase additional tubes of teeth whitening gel from the dentist who provided your original kit. Wear your trays for a few days and you’ll enjoy a refreshed and vibrant smile.