How to Keep Your Teeth White after a Professional Whitening Appointment

Professional whitening treatments can truly transform your smile, but the results are not permanent. Your teeth can accumulate stains and become discolored again, and then you'll have to have them re-whitened. If you want to keep your teeth looking as bright and white as possible for as long as possible after your professional whitening treatment, then follow these tips.

Say "no" to dark liquids—or drink them carefully.

Coffee, red wine, black tea, and dark-colored sodas are all super staining to your teeth. If you can go without these dark liquids completely, that is best. Reach for white wine instead of red, green tea instead of black tea, and clear sodas (or better yet, water) instead of darker ones. If the prospect of kicking your coffee or soda habit completely seems next to impossible, make sure that you're at least drinking these liquids through a straw when you indulge. You might look a little silly sipping coffee through a straw, but this will ensure it is deposited directly on your tongue instead of flowing across your front teeth first. This method won't prevent staining entirely (a little coffee will probably still touch your teeth), but it will reduce it somewhat.

Use a whitening toothpaste.

Many people assume that there's no reason to keep using a whitening toothpaste once they get their teeth professionally whitened. But using a whitening toothpaste is actually a good preventative measure to slow the formation of new stains. Whitening toothpastes typically contain a mild abrasive, like baking soda, which will help scrub the beginnings of stains off your teeth before they get a chance to get too dark or severe. If you're concerned about the additional expense of whitening toothpaste, try using it just once per day and using regular toothpaste the other times you brush your teeth.

Pack a toothbrush and toothpaste in your purse or briefcase.

Get into the habit of always bringing your toothbrush and toothpaste with you wherever you go. That way, if you eat something staining like berries or chocolate while you're away from home, you can go to the bathroom and brush your teeth afterwards, minimizing the staining. As an added bonus, brushing after your midday meals will further reduce plaque buildup, protecting you from cavities and gum disease.

Eat plenty of dairy.

Cheese, yogurt, and milk have gotten the reputation of being good for teeth because they're high in calcium. But they also contain lactic acid, which helps whiten your teeth. Try replacing some of your less-healthy snacks, like candy and chips, with low-fat fairy products like a slice of cheese or a cup of sugar-free yogurt. You can stir some berries and granola into unsweetened yogurt to give it more flavor without as much sugar as the sweetened, flavored yogurt off the grocery store shelf.

Eat more crunchy produce.

Crunchy fruits and veggies act like natural toothbrushes, helping to scrape any buildup off your teeth before it has a chance to cause staining. They also take a long time to chew, which leads to more saliva production. Saliva works as a natural cleaner to keep your teeth shiny and white. Celery, apples, and raw cauliflower are all good choices. Strawberries are also wonderful for whitening teeth. They may not be as crunchy as the other items listed here, but they contain a compound called malic acid that helps whiten teeth naturally.

Professional dental whitening is not cheap, so it's important to ensure your results last as long as possible. Follow the tips above, and, of course, keep up with your regular brushing and flossing and checkups with a dentist. Your smile will stay beautiful for years to come! Contact a representative from an office like Willowdaile Family Dentistry to learn more about teeth whitening.