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COOPER

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On Your Way to Whiter Teeth

There’s nothing more attractive than a beautiful smile. A nice smile is inviting and makes a person seem approachable.  Many things can cause teeth to lose their luster; age (usually after 50), smoking, eating or drinking dark colored foods and beverages and even medications. It is difficult to whiten teeth that have been discolored due to medication. The discoloration is coming from the inside of the tooth and not the tooth surface which is what most tooth whitening treatments target. Prolonged whitening is required in these circumstances to reach the dentin layer of the tooth.

There are many ways to whiten your teeth. The American Dental Association reports whitening methods include in office bleaching that is applied by a dental professional, over the counter at home bleaching kits and non-dental options like the types found at mall kiosks and salons.  The ADA recommends having your teeth checked by your dentist before using any bleaching or whitening method. Checking your dental and health history will enable you to know if there are allergies or sensitivities, irregularities of the tooth structure and problems with hard and soft tissues.  Whitening is discouraged if there is tooth decay or any gum infections.

Having the procedure done at the dentist office is the preferred, most effective method of whitening your teeth.  These procedures use a light reactive bleaching agent painted onto the front teeth and exposed to direct light for a determined period of time. Even though stronger chemicals are applied to the teeth, the gums and the rest of the mouth is protected. Some systems have a buffer in them to prevent damage to the tooth enamel. Whitening your teeth at the dentist’s office is extremely effective. This method is most recommended because your dentist is qualified to manage any problems that might arise from the whitening process (tooth sensitivity, for instance). The treatment can last for a long time, depending how well you care for your teeth.

Cost may play a factor in your choice to whiten your teeth, but remember, you very often get what you pay for.  Procedures that are less expensive are done at kiosks or salons. These procedures imitate the ones done at the dentist but with a bleaching agent of lesser strength. These procedures are not regulated, and there is no guarantee that your teeth will positively react with the treatment.

The least expensive way to whiten teeth is to do it at home.  At-home products range from gels and chewing gums, to rinses and toothpastes, among others. Be sure to consult your dentist first when using over the counter methods. These products are not guaranteed to give you the results you want.

Some people prefer to whiten teeth using natural remedies. Some say that mashed strawberry pulp, which has malic acid, left on the teeth for 5 minutes, whitens teeth. Using baking soda as toothpaste is another common way to whiten teeth.  Eating carrots, celery and apples causes an increase in saliva effectively scrubbing the teeth clean. According to some, lemons may also be used to whiten teeth but not for extended periods of time due to the acid in them damaging the enamel. These natural remedies most likely will give you minimal results and too much food acid on your teeth for extended periods of time could harm the enamel.

If you’ve tried all the means available to whiten your teeth and you’re less than satisfied with the result, you can always have your dentist apply a bonding material or veneers to your teeth in the white shade that will give you the dazzling smile you seek. Check with your dentist to find the best method for you. Your dentist has many options and the results can be spectacular.  There really is no reason not to have the smile of your dreams.

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