People have become more self-conscious about their dental health now more than ever, thanks to social media and influencers flashing their beaming smiles, to the point that some have opted to get dental implants for a complete do-over of their crowns.

Then there are others who are looking into teeth whitening services and products because of teeth stains. Well, we can’t exactly blame them, especially if they’ve got a fondness for wine, soda, and coffee, right? Plus, there’s also the fact that tooth discoloration is pretty common as you age. With that said, let’s talk about teeth whitening aftercare so you can prolong the effects of teeth whitening and don’t have to worry much about those stains.

What Is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is a dental procedure done to lighten the color of your teeth or remove the stains using peroxide-based bleaching agents, which can be done at the dentist’s office or at home. Compared to teeth whitening at-home treatments that use 3% to 20% peroxide, in-chair teeth whitening contains from 15% to 43% peroxide, which considerably brightens your teeth.

Other teeth-whitening methods include ultraviolet light therapy and sanding down stains, to name a few. There are also natural ways to whiten your teeth, such as by brushing your teeth with baking powder or using hydrogen peroxide.

Do keep in mind that using a stronger percentage of peroxide would result in white teeth, but as a general rule, a higher percentage solution should only be used for a short time on your teeth. The longer it stays on, the higher the chance that it will dehydrate your teeth, which will lead to tooth sensitivity. Although there are a lot of do-it-at-home kits available, it is highly encouraged to talk to your dentist first.

Does In-Chair Teeth-Whitening Last Longer?

Compared to at-home treatments, in-chair teeth whitening done at the dentist’s office lasts much longer, for at least one to three years, depending on your teeth whitening aftercare.

Plus, it’s advisable to seek your dentist’s opinion first about teeth whitening because doing it by yourself may lead to sensitivity in your teeth and gums, or worse, gum irritation and damage to tooth enamel, to name a few.

Protect Your Newly Whitened Smile – Whether you opt to go for home whitening kits or drop by your local dentist, here are a few post-whitening care tips to maintain a healthy white smile.

Avoid acidic foods and beverages – Let’s face it: there are a lot of foods and drinks that could stain your teeth, so if you can’t avoid them, you might as well limit their intake. These include coffee, soda, tea, red and white juices, and foods with soy sauce and curry powder in them. This is important in the first 48 hours since you’ve whitened your teeth since they are extra vulnerable and sensitive by then.

What you can eat or drink instead during the next 48 hours are foods and drinks that are light-colored and non-acidic, like bread, oatmeal, pasta, fish, milk, yogurt, and cheese, to name a few. Once the 48-hour mark passed, you could try incorporating a few light-colored fruits, like apples or vegetables. Aside from these, be mindful of the food’s temperature since your teeth are still sensitive to the procedure.

Aside from acidic foods and beverages, you should also limit your sugar intake to lessen the chances of Streptococcus mutans bacteria that cause plaque. You can protect your teeth from enamel erosion by introducing more calcium into your diet, like milk, broccoli, or cheese.

Maintain good oral habits and hygiene – Aside from changing a bit of your diet, you should also keep brushing your teeth and tongue and continue to floss as well.

Commit to long-term smile maintenance – Maintaining white teeth after treatment requires discipline, which means you must also dutifully drop by your dentist’s office for regular check-ups and cleanings. Apart from that, you could also consider getting touch-ups now and then to help prolong the effects of teeth whitening.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of different ways you could whiten your teeth, so it all depends on your needs, budget, immediate effects, and your current dental state.

In-chair teeth whitening is the most proven option with a long-lasting effect and is relatively safe, but it’s also the most expensive out of all the options. As always, it’s better to discuss these options with your dentist first to ensure the overall safety of your oral health.