close up of a person sipping from a straw

How to maintain white teeth

Whether you already have white teeth or you've just completed a teeth whitening treatment, keep in mind that you've still got some work to do when it comes to preserving that beautiful, sparkling smile. In the same way that you might avoid driving through mud puddles after washing a car, you also need to be thoughtful about how you treat your teeth if you want them to remain white. To help your teeth stay brighter for a longer period, follow these helpful tips.

Minimise staining liquids

If you reach for a mug of coffee every morning and a cold glass of cola each afternoon, you may notice your teeth losing their bright appearance. Coffee, tea, cola and red wine are some of the common liquids that stain teeth. If you're serious about keeping your teeth white, try to cut back on these beverages.

  • TIP: Use a straw. If you can't live without these drinks, try sipping them through a straw, particularly in the first few days after a teeth whitening treatment. Sipping through a straw reduces the amount of liquid that comes into contact with your teeth. You can even buy a set of reusable straws so you can keep them handy wherever you might need them.

Eliminate tobacco

Eliminating stain-causing tobacco isn't just good for keeping your teeth white. There are many adverse oral risks associated with tobacco use, including gum disease, oral cancer, dulled tasting abilities and slower healing after certain dental procedures. Removing tobacco use from your routine can lead to drastic improvements in the appearance of your teeth as well as for your overall dental health.

Try a whitening toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste is an excellent solution for removing any surface stains that may have accumulated throughout the day. Some even use hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth from the inside out. It's a simple step, but it can provide your teeth with a twice-daily whitening refresher, which can give you many more reasons to smile.

Drink water between beverages that stain

Enjoy potentially staining beverages in moderation and drink water between each. Water is good for your overall health and will also help wash away dark liquids from the surfaces of your teeth. Try alternating a sip of coffee, tea or hot chocolate with a drink of water. As a bonus, your flavoured beverage will last longer.

Brush your teeth after

The longer the liquid sits on your teeth, the more intense the staining will be. Carry a toothbrush and toothpaste with you so you can freshen up after your coffee break. However, it's essential that you wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after drinking any acidic drink like coffee. If you brush too soon, you may end up spreading the acidity around your teeth instead of cleaning it off.

Keep up your daily oral care routine

The best way to protect against stained teeth is a proper oral care routine. Since plaque attracts staining substances, reducing plaque in general will reduce overall discolouration. Brushing twice daily will help to keep your mouth clean, healthy and stain-free. Make sure you are flossing once a day as well, or you might end up with stains around the surfaces of your teeth even if you brush regularly.

See your dentist for regular cleanings

Aside from regular daily care, what more can you do to keep your teeth white? Visit your dental practice for regular check-ups at least twice a year. Your dentist or dental hygienist can polish away surface stains during the cleaning of your teeth. The abrasive action from professional cleaning is a useful tool for fighting discolouration without having to bleach your teeth again.

With excellent brushing habits and professional cleanings, you can maintain your bright smile. Still, stains can return over time, even without habits like coffee, drinking and smoking. Be sure to talk to your dentist before whitening at home and only use bleaching products recommended or given to you by your dentist.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.