There are a lot of at-home teeth-whitening remedies out there, but not all are safe or reliable. Consider these tips when evaluating at home teeth-whitening products:
- Follow the instructions: Read the instructions carefully before using teeth-whitening products, and use the products only as directed.
- Check the bleach concentration: Choose a safe teeth-whitening product with no higher than a ten percent concentration of bleach.
- Make sure the strips fit: Gum irritation from safe teeth-whitening products usually occurs if you are using trays that don't fit properly. You can reduce your risk of gum irritation by choosing whitening strips that fit more securely to your teeth.
- Try a whitening toothpaste: See how your teeth and gums respond after using the toothpaste for a few weeks and then decide whether to try additional safe teeth-whitening products.
- Do Your Homework: When it comes to your health and body, you can never have too much information. If you're considering , do your own initial research online and see what kind of data is out there to support the use of the various methods. With that said, be careful when searching the internet because it can provide both accurate and inaccurate information.
- Consult a Professional: Talk to your dentist about the use of at-home teeth-whitening remedies. Your dentist can offer research and evidence-based recommendations and advice not always available on the internet. Plus, your dentist knows your teeth and dental history, which are important considerations when reviewing at-home teeth-whitening remedies.
Safe teeth-whitening options aren't limited to treatments that you receive in your dentist's office. Many at-home products are available, and are safe if used as directed. The American Dental Association divides safe teeth-whitening products into two categories—those that make teeth whiter by bleaching, and those that make teeth whiter by relying on a physical or chemical action.
As with any new health regimen, it's always a good idea to consult with a health professional (in this case your dentist) prior to using home teeth whitening kits. While home teeth-whitening kits are safe for many people, there are several circumstances when it may not be appropriate for some people to use them. Before heading to the drug store for home teeth-whitening kits, go over this quick assessment:
- If you are allergic to peroxide: Most at-home teeth whitening kits include peroxide, so those with allergies should consult with a health professional before beginning teeth whitening.
- If you have dental health problems: Individuals with periodontal disease, cavities, exposed roots, or worn enamel should also consult with a dental professional before using home teeth whitening kits.
- If you have fillings, crowns, or other dental restorations: Often, the materials used in restorative dental work such as bridges, bonding, crowns, or veneers don't whiten with the use of home teeth whitening kits. This can lead to uneven whitening.
- If you wear braces: Home teeth whitening kits such as peroxide-based strips should not be applied to teeth with braces, as they only whiten the portion of the teeth with which the whitening gel comes in contact. In addition, metal in the braces could oxidize and change color.
- If you take any prescription drugs: You should discuss any prescription drugs you're taking with your health and/or dental professional before starting a whitening program.
As a general rule, at-home teeth whitening kits are best when used by people with healthy teeth and gums looking for a brighter smile. If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you should consult with your dentist before pursuing a white smile.
Knowing the possible side effects is the first step to safe teeth whitening.
- Tooth sensitivity: Tooth sensitivity is most likely to occur at the beginning of a safe teeth-whitening regimen, and it usually subsides over time. The American Dental Association states that the most often reported side effects are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. But these conditions are usually temporary.
- Tooth damage: In rare cases, tooth damage can occur even if you follow safe teeth-whitening procedures. But severe problems are most likely if you have active gum disease or untreated cavities.
If you are uncertain about the condition of your teeth, visit your dentist for advice about safe teeth-whitening options. Also, remember that even safe teeth-whitening products will not be effective on tooth-colored fillings or bonding. For more information about safe teeth whitening and choosing the right products, see the Crest 3DWhite collection.
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