A bright, white smile is something wanted by many people out there. That is especially the case around the holidays when you may be seeing friends or family whom you haven’t seen in a while because of the coronavirus pandemic. “Throughout the year you may not have had the best brushing habits and your teeth may not look as white as you’d like them to be,” said Dr. Tony Thomas, the lead dentist for Advanced Smile Care of North Cental San Antonio. Here are five different ways you can start to get your pearly whites to look like jewels without neeidng to wait until next year’s holiday season. 

#1 Try whitening strips

Whitening strips are a very popular, over-the-counter way to make your teeth a few shades whiter in just a matter of days to a couple of weeks. They are fairly inexpensive and change the color of your teeth, primarily using a combination of peroxides and bleaches. Even though whitening strips may sound intimidating, the chemicals in whitening kits are safe for your teeth. However,  you need to follow the directions and not leave them on for too long, because they can start eating away at the enamel of the teeth if not used properly.  

#2 Look into a teeth whitening pen

Although the resuilts of a whitening pen may not necessarily be long-lasting, these devices can touch up your teeth temporarily to get you through that holiday meeting, meal, or any event where you are trying to impress. Glamour says dentists recommend using the whitening pens after eating dark-colored foods or drinking dark-colored drinks. Dr. Thomas said, “The pens help to remove dark pigments off of teeth so they don’t sit there long enough to stain.” The pens are also small enough to carry in a purse, or for men, even in your pants pocket.

#3 Brush with baking soda

Many toothpastes contain baking soda which has natural whitening properties. Baking soda is mildly abrasive and works by scrubbing stains off the teeth, making it hard for bacteria to grow in your mouth since it promotes an alkaline environment. “You won’t see the results right away, but if you give it a few weeks you should start noticing whiter teeth,” said Dr. Thomas. You can buy toothpaste with baking soda in it or make your own by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water in combination with regular toothpaste. 

#4 Get a custom-made tooth whitening gel tray

This type of teeth whitening can be the most enduring technique to keep your teeth the shade of white you want. The trays are custom-fitted using impressions of your own teeth that are completed by your dentist, whether it be here at Advanced Smile Care or another practice. “You can keep the trays as long as you want as long as your teeth do not move from the moment we take the original impressions,” said Dr. Thomas. You care for the gel trays like a retainer or night guard, and store it in water or baking soda when not in use. Most people see results within two to three weeks.

#5 Try in-office tooth whitening

This is a whitening technique that is performed by your dentist, and it can be the most efficient way to get your teeth as bright as possible. WebMD says the bleaching solution used by your dentist is often stronger than the kits you can buy over-the-counter.

At Advanced Smile Care, we use the KöR Teeth Whitening System. “The process is typically done in a few, 30 to 60 minute sessions, but can sometimes be completed in one two hour session,” said Dr. Thomas. The procedure uses a combination of heat and light to both speed up and intensify the whitening process giving you dramatic results in a short amount of time. The Kör system tends to lead to less post-treatment sensitivity than other in-office whitening products.

Whichever way you choose to go about making those teeth as white as can be, it never hurts to talk to your dentist first. As long as you choose a safe and reputable route, the holidays will bring you the gift of white, instead of a lump coal in your stocking.

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