Slideshow 10 secrets to whiter teeth

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Teeth whitening at home, without needing an expensive and inconvenient trip lớn the dentist, has some obvious appeal. But many DIY teeth whitening treatments run the risk of damaging your gums and nerves, or stripping enamel & making teeth more susceptible to deterioration (and immediate discoloration, too, which is exactly what you don't want.) 

The good news, however, is that there are indeed safe and effective at-home teeth-whitening methods. Many of these methods are also preventative, in that they magnify the longevity of past whitening efforts, and maximize the time between efforts.

For more advice, we spoke with renowned aesthetic dentist Dr. Michael Apa of Apa Aesthetic in NYC, LA, & Dubai. He stressed that whitening should be just one part of a broader oral care routine—and that a pro will always be able lớn whiten better & quicker. With those caveats he broke down an 8-step plan for teeth whitening at home.

Dr. Apa isn’t against those convenient at-home whitening strips or gel trays. But he says, in order to make them effective, you should have had a professional dental cleaning in the month or two prior—even with the best DIY whitening methods. This way, your teeth và gums are in đứng top form, and without any plaque accumulated that could otherwise create a contrasting effect after the whitening efforts. Not khổng lồ mention, it ensures you’re on đứng top of your oral health. 

You wouldn't necessarily think so, but healthy gums are imperative for brighter teeth: “If a patient’s gum health is not đứng đầu notch, bleaching is a bad idea. Inflamed, puffy gums can be an indicator of poor oral hygiene & contribute to lớn a vicious cycle of compromised brushing & flossing because the area is so sensitive.”

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Instead of cutting back on the tooth-staining things you like, Dr. Apa believes in a “conscious consumption” approach. “Stay hydrated by drinking water, lớn help maintain brightness. And consume pigmented drinks (like coffee và tea) through a straw,” he says. He also says that the old adage “an táo bị cắn a day keeps the doctor away'' can be applied khổng lồ brighter teeth: “Biting into roughage và textured foods can help remove debris in between brushing và flossing.”

Or, after consuming things lượt thích red sauce, wine, coffee, soda, and the likes, you should brush as promptly as possible. “Routine brushing và flossing are little things that can also make a big difference in minimizing stains,” he adds.

For 48 hours after any treatment, you need lớn let your enamel recover and rebuild. That’s because teeth are porous, and anything with staining powers can harbor inside those pores much more easily in this vulnerable period. This is a quick way to lớn instantly undo any brightening progress. “Avoid food và drinks with heavy coloring—things lượt thích berries, red sauce, coffee, & red wine can derail whitening efforts,” Apa says. “We always say, ‘if it will stain a trắng t-shirt, it will stain your teeth.’”

Apa urges his patients to lớn use a sonic toothbrush. “The vibration allows for a deeper clean và gets between the tooth và gumline in a way that a regular toothbrush cannot,” he says. “Also, pay attention to lớn the angulation of the brush; it should be right along the gumline.”