Teeth Whitening for Summer

We're well into the warm months, and this time of year brings big events like graduations, weddings, vacations and family get-togethers. But with plenty of fun outdoor opportunities, there has never been a better time to consider teeth whitening for summer. Whether it's a neighborhood party or high school reunion, presenting your radiant smile is sure to impress.

From an office procedure to a purchasable toothpaste, according to the American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site, you have options available to you.

Professional Bleaching Procedures

First, you need to determine if you qualify for whitening treatment, and which type is best for you. Do you have porcelain work or discolored front teeth? Is there currently decay on your front teeth? If any of these issues apply to you, consult with your dental professional before pursuing a whitening application.

Professional whitening treatments vary. Some require dental impressions so the office can deliver trays that you can use to apply whitening gel in the comfort of your own home. Other systems use laser or ultraviolet light during in-office procedures to activate the whitening solution to your teeth applied by your dental professional. Because these types of whitening can take a few dental appointments to complete, summer is a great time to schedule these treatments before the kids go back to school and calendar gets busier.

As always, your dental professional will help you choose which treatment is best for you, after considering all options for in-office tooth whitening.

Over-the-Counter Treatment

Everyone wants a gleaming smile, and fortunately there are options available over-the-counter (OTC) to assist you in addition to those in the dental office. The ADA considers these safe and effective, and a good fit for multiple budgets.

Whitening toothpastes are a great starting point if you are not ready to take the plunge into professional whitening treatments. Toothpastes like Colgate® Sensitivity Whitening work to remove stains caused by common foods such as coffee, tea and other dark-colored products. The whitening ingredient(s) in these products cut through surface stains and effectively improves the tooth's natural color, while going easy on teeth that are prone to the sensitivity caused by stronger bleaching methods. This way, you won't have to limit your consumption of cool summertime foods like ice cream and other frozen treats.

Maintaining the Shine

Once your teeth are whiter, you can maintain that healthy glow through routine dental checkups, proper home care including twice daily brushing with toothpase and flossing. Oral care can get dicey during the summer, with more outdoor snacks and activities keeping you away from a toothbrush. But on-the-go toothbrushes like the Colgate® Wisp® can keep your teeth cleaner after impromptu snacks on vacation. OTC mouthrinses have also been shown to produce results for consumers when used in conjunction with teeth whitening pens, which provide a convenient option for whitening with minimal sensitivity. Whitening pens can be packed easily in a purse or pocket for whitening on the go during busy summer travel days.

Warm seasons are the perfect time of year to pursue teeth whitening for summer and to show off your bright summer grin. Through both in-office and at-home whitening products, you can remove those stains to uncover the luminous smile underneath.

About the author: Emily Boge, RDH, BS, MPAc is currently a health sciences public administration Master's degree candidate at Upper Iowa University and has practiced dental hygiene since 2003 in Manchester, Iowa. She is also the owner of Think Big Dental, a consulting and writing firm specializing in the education of corporations and health professionals on the role of a dental hygienist.

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