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Too Much of a Good Thing: Over-Whitening Your Teeth

Too Much of a Good Thing: Over-Whitening Your Teeth

A bright smile with shiny, white teeth helps you feel your best. A beautiful smile attracts others and shows that you seem to be the picture of great health. Over time, your smile can fade and grow dingy as your teeth lose their shine. Some folks decide to take matters into their own hands by using at-home bleaching products and seeking in-office bleaching treatments. However, dentists and other medical professionals advise that people can over-whiten their teeth when using these treatments.

Causes of Tooth Darkening

Teeth grow darker or more yellow over time. In addition, drinking coffee, red wine or tea further stains teeth as does the use of tobacco products. Some medications further aggravate the problem. You can help keep your teeth their whitest by undergoing a professional cleaning. You will then be able to make a better decision as to if you need further whitening treatments.

Ways to Bleach Teeth

People try the following to whiten their teeth:

  • Home remedies – Some folks try at-home remedies, such as strawberries, baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Over-the-counter options – This includes whitening strips, whitening toothpastes, gels, rinses, trays and more. While these are usually safe if used in moderation according to the directions, they can become dangerous if used excessively.
  • Professional treatments – While some aspects of professional treatments are similar to over-the-counter options, your dentist will customize fittings and treatments to you personally, providing optimal benefits.

The Effectiveness of Bleaching Your Teeth

Tooth whitening and bleaching usually works about 90 percent of the time. Teeth with yellowing stains respond slightly better while those with brownish stains aren’t as affected. Grayish stains respond the least to tooth whitening. If you have had bonding or other cosmetic work done on your front teeth, the bleaching might not affect the color of those teeth although it will affect your original teeth. You might need to pursue other options.

In addition, you will want to consider the following before you bleach your teeth:

  • Ask your dentist – He can provide you with further guidance as to the effectiveness of bleaching in your situation and the best procedure for you.
  • Consider the cost – At-home options and over-the-counter treatments are usually affordable in comparison to professional treatments that can be expensive and might not be covered by insurance. However, you might damage existing dental work or irritate your gums with in-home treatments.
  • Maintain proper dental hygiene – Daily care, including brushing, flossing, regular cleanings and checkups will help keep your teeth and your smile their brightest and healthiest.

Dangers of Over-Bleaching

Over-bleaching teeth leads to the following risks:

  • Irritated gums, causing them to recede
  • Brittle teeth
  • Damage to the tooth enamel
  • Damage to the root of the tooth
  • Increased sensitivity and
  • Poor overall dental health.

In the most extreme cases, your teeth can become so damaged that they even need veneers or crowns.

Children under the age of 16 and pregnant or lactating women should avoid using teeth whitening products. Teeth whitening works especially well for someone with healthy gums and teeth who wants to reduce or eliminate yellowing. However, if you want to protect your teeth, first seek the advice of your dentist before using any whitening treatments.

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