It’s something many are self-conscious about – teeth. It’s your first impression, and many fear that if their teeth are discolored, it could appear they don’t take care of themselves. According to, about 18 percent of us conceal our teeth in photos. While you should consult with your dentist, here are some tips to brighten your smile.

Whitening at the dentist.

There are typically two ways to whiten teeth with your dentist: in-office and at-home whitening. Office whitening consists of a high concentration bleaching gel, and sometimes uses a Diode laser to assist. This type of whitening can result in sensitivity, but also has quicker results. In-office also tends to cost more for the dentist’s time.

At-home whitening involves taking a set of upper and lower impressions to fabricate custom trays for your mouth. The patient is sent home with at-home whitening solutions, along with necessary instructions.

Whitening at home.

The whitening strips aisle seems to get bigger every year, and dentists like Dr. Matt Krivarchka of Today’s Family Dentistry recommend them if their solutions aren’t for you. Other ways to work towards whitening your teeth at home:

Apple Cider VinegarAcetic acid, which is the main active ingredient, effectively kills bacteria. This makes it useful for cleaning your mouth and whitening your teeth when you gargle it.

Baking SodaUse it just as you would toothpaste once a week. Be sure to spit it out, though.

“Go White” Diet You know the drill. Avoid your intake of red wine, tobacco, colas, gravies, and dark juices. When you indulge, brush your teeth immediately after. Take a break from these items to see how it affects (or improves) your smile.

“Detergent” Foods – Foods that are firm and crisp help clean teeth as they’re eaten. These include raw carrots, celery, and popcorn. For the best use, eat these foods last if they’re part of a snack or meal.

How often should you whiten?

This depends on if it is the initial therapy (just starting the whitening process) or is maintenance of the shade you have whitened your teeth to. According to Dr. Krivarchka, “The initial therapy with take-home tray whitening varies for everyone, but usually takes 7-10 days. Typically, after your target shade has been met, we recommend touch-ups as needed, which on average is every six months or so.”

When should you not whiten your teeth?

Dr. Krivarchka says a sign that you are not a good candidate are patients with multiple crowns and/or fillings on their front teeth. “These crowns or fillings will not whiten like your natural teeth,” he warned.

The most common side effects?

When it comes to teeth whitening, the most common side effect is sensitivity. “Every person will differ in this aspect, so it’s important to start your whitening process slowly to gauge how much sensitivity you may have,” said Dr. Krivarchka.

How often is too often to whiten?

Only whiten when necessary. Signs you’re whitening too much are: sensitivity to cold, inflamed and bleeding gums, or teeth appearing transparent around edges.

For more information, visit

Facebook Comments