The arrival of the holiday season is best described as organized chaos for some folks. As you're making your list and checking it twice, don't neglect your oral health. Everyone wants to look his or her best when seeing family and friends and one way to ensure that is with a nice, healthy smile. So it's wise to bone up on the best teeth whitening options available to turn that smile as white as the driven snow.
What Is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is the process of lightening teeth while removing discoloration and stains. Effective and fast, whitening procedures can be performed by a dentist, or you can try some products you can apply at home. In both cases, whitening may have to be performed multiple times to get a long-lasting effect.
A tooth's enamel is the part that actually gets whitened. Tooth coloring is a combination of light reflecting off the enamel and the yellowish dentin just under the enamel. The thinner the enamel, the more the dentin shows through.
How Does It Work?
Teeth whitening falls into one of two categories: bleaching and non-bleaching procedures. The bleaching method involves brightening the natural color of your teeth by a factor of five to seven shades. Various bleaching methods can be performed in a dentist's office or by yourself in the comfort of your home. Non-bleaching treatments use a chemical or physical method to remove stains on a tooth's surface. This can be done simply by using a whitening toothpaste such as Colgate Total Advanced Whitening, in which the dual-silica helps removes stains and helps prevent new stains from forming.
Two of the main culprits that lead to stained teeth are poor oral hygiene and tobacco use. Certain drinks are also responsible for discoloring teeth. Acids and sugar byproducts in soda lead to enamel erosion. While many people start their day off with a cup of coffee or tea, the natural brown, black and dark blends can cause staining as well, explains the American Dental Association.
Here are two ways you can achieve a dazzling smile:
- Whitening pens. Small enough to carry on the run, whitening pens are small, plastic tubes filled with whitening gel. The gel removes stains on a tooth's surface for an immediate improvement in coloration. The pens are quick and easy to use, and there's no leftover mess after application. The carbamide peroxide found in the whitening gel breaks down into urea and hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide serves as the bleaching agent by allowing oxygen to penetrate tooth enamel, which results in a whitening effect.
- Laser whitening. This whitening procedure is an in-office procedure performed by a dentist. In one hour, laser whitening can significantly brighten your teeth. After determining the correct shade of your teeth, the dentist will safeguard your lips with an SPF agent before lining your front teeth with a bleaching gel. Then the dentist activates the bleaching laser for three 15-minute sessions. If you really need a quick fix, laser whitening may be the way to go.
The holidays should be a time of great joy spent with family and close friends. While a certain amount of stress is to be expected, your smile shouldn't be one of the causes, especially with some of the best teeth whitening methods readily available.