Is It a Crime to Want a Whiter Smile?

Four people made a business of stealing tooth whitening strips from Wal-Mart and Target in Indianapolis and Central Pennsylvania over the past few months. Presumably, they were attempting to make a quick buck on resale value so they could pursue other unsavory activities. But perhaps they identified a market of people who were willing to barter for stolen goods so they could have brighter smiles. Or maybe they just wanted whiter teeth themselves. While we hope these individuals remember to take their toothbrush with them to prison, you needn’t stoop to such levels to get the whiter smile you want. Teeth whitening is easy, especially with professional assistance.

How Well Do You Know Your Teeth?

The first thing to know is that whiter smiles aren’t always healthier smiles. It’s important to consult with your dentist before attempting at-home whitening. Over-the-counter products might get the job done but your discolored teeth might actually be indicative of a bigger oral health problem like periodontal disease that should be addressed sooner rather than later. Often, people put off their regular cleanings for too long which can lead to deeper and darker stains, as well as serious dental issues which, inevitably, will cost you both financially and physically.

Follow the Directions

If you do decide to invest in do-it-yourself, over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments, follow the directions on the box. It is possible to over-whiten your teeth, and you can irreversibly harm your enamel if the whitening is done too often. The only way to speed up your whitening results is to have it done professionally in one hour. Otherwise, be patient.

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Temper Your Vices

“Watch what you eat” isn’t a phrase that applies to weight loss alone. The foods and beverages you ingest regularly also impact oral health. What you eat and how you live your life affects your teeth, and their level of whiteness. If you have a coffee, cola, or red wine habit, and no intention of giving up these vices, your teeth will require even more TLC to ensure that they stay white.

Tread Lightly on Your Teeth

Some people are so determined to have a whiter smile that they invest in all manner of whitening toothpastes and brush as hard as possible to penetrate stains. Aggressive brushing is bad for your gums and it doesn’t do any more effective a job of whitening your teeth than a typical, light-handed brushing. The idea is to brush smarter, not harder, so talk to your dentist about the types of toothbrushes and toothpastes they recommend.

Beyond Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening works for many people but, in some cases, stains and damage are irreparable and other interventions are necessary to recapture a white smile. Porcelain veneers or Lumineers can create a beautiful smile that complements your features and balances your face so that your smile looks completely natural. For people who want a new smile quickly, cosmetic dentistry can get the job done in as little as two visits to the dentist – which is a lot faster than brushing until your gums bleed.

Talk to Dr. Ken Cirka at Philadelphia Dentistry to discuss your teeth-whitening options, including one-hour in-office whitening or customized at-home bleaching kits.

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