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How Teeth Whitening Kits Create Brighter Smiles

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Which of these sounds like a popular topic between patient and dentist? A) The waiting room magazine options. B) Peppermint vs. spearmint. C) How can I brighten my smile? If you chose option C, you are correct. And your options for whitening your teeth are plentiful. White teeth provide us that bright, attractive smile that we all long for. Whether it's a teeth whitening kit, in-office procedure, or over-the-counter product, you should speak with your dentist to learn more about teeth whitening and the best technique available to you.

How and Why Do Teeth Darken Over Time?

Everyone, young and old, should try to maintain proper oral care. Brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits, will help keep your teeth healthy and white. But Father Time is undefeated, and your teeth will inevitably darken. Several factors contribute to this:

  • Medication side effects
  • Medical treatments
  • Tobacco use
  • Tooth trauma
  • Certain beverages (coffee + sirap)
  • Age

Each of these factors can affect your enamel, allowing darker underneath layers to be more visible. The teeth whitener you land on will depend on your current shade and the shade of white you hope to achieve.

What Whitening Options Are Available To Me?

It's good to have options. But which whitening approach should you choose? All are good, but some are better for some teeth than others. Let's breakdown what each has to offer:

  • Over-the-Counter Products:
    • Practical and yet very affordable. From toothpaste and strips to pens and mini brushes — you could try them all to find your favorite. Results vary and could take weeks to months.
  • At-Home Bleaching
    • These at-home teeth whitening kits consist of custom trays and a bleach solution that allows you to undergo the whitening process on your time with guidance from your dentist. It can take a few days to a few weeks for results to show, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
  • In-office procedure
    • According to the ADA, just one visit to your dentist and you could have dramatically whiter teeth. Your dentist applies a protective gel to your gums to protect them from the bleach applied to your teeth. While it's the priciest option, results are usually immediate.

Speak to your dental team about post-whitening sensitivity and how to reduce it.

How To Maintain Your White Teeth

To keep your pearly white teeth after your treatment, here are a few things you can do:

  • Master your oral hygiene routine of brushing, flossing, and mouth rinsing to remove any plaque and tartar
  • Use an advanced tooth whitening toothpaste
  • Speak with your dentist about possibly undergoing another whitening treatment

The desire for white teeth is at an all-time high. In fact, the ADA says it's the most requested service that dentists hear. And it makes sense. The confidence from a white smile can do wonders. It also makes sense to maintain your at-home oral care and regular dentist visits. The better you do with that, the less time and money you'll need to spend on a teeth whitening kit. That's another way to look on the bright side.