If your teen’s teeth appear to be dull, discolored, or stained, you may be tempted to purchase an off-the-shelf teeth whitening kit. While teeth whitening kits do whiten teeth, they may not be the best option for your teen due to certain risks, like not following directions and leaving the strips in place for too long. There is a big difference between professional teeth whitening and DIY teeth whitening. If not done properly at home, it can cause tooth sensitivity or damage to your child’s new adult teeth. Instead, try these tips to help your teen get a whiter smile.
1. Start with a Professional Dental Cleaning
When it comes to helping your teen improve the appearance of his or her teeth, always start with a professional dental cleaning. In many instances, the discoloration on your teen’s teeth are caused by excess plaque, tartar, and staining from drinking sodas, coffee, or tea. Professional teeth cleaning will remove all the plaque and tartar, as well as the vast majority of stains. For maximum effectiveness and to improve oral health, we recommend scheduling dental appointments twice a year.
2. Consider Different Oral Hygiene Products
Consider getting your teen different oral hygiene products. There are many toothpastes and mouthwashes that can help keep stains at bay and whiten teeth without the use of high concentrations of peroxide or other bleaching agents. There are even pre-rinses that have low levels of peroxide that can be used to whiten the teeth safely without causing the tooth sensitivity that is associated with over-the-counter bleaching strips. Additionally, consider purchasing your teen an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing food particles and stains from teeth, and they can get the teeth cleaner than a manual toothbrush when used properly.
3. Avoid Drinks that Stain Teeth
Does your teen drink a lot of coffee, tea or soda? These drinks can dull and stain teeth. Not to mention, they are all acidic, which can wear down the enamel on your teen’s teeth, leading to cavities. Encourage your teen to drink more water, and if they must have tea, coffee or soda, recommend that they rinse their mouth with water once they are finished with the beverage.
4. Avoid Foods that Stain Teeth
Darkly colored berries and vegetables, as well as chocolate, can stain your teen’s teeth and make them look dull. A good rule of thumb is that if the food stains the tongue, it can also stain the teeth. Encourage your teen to eat more crunchy fruits and vegetables, like carrots and celery. These foods don’t stain the teeth, and the fibrous crunchy nature of the raw fruits and vegetables can help clean the teeth.
5. Consider a Once-Weekly Paste of Baking Soda and Water
If your teen’s teeth still appear stained, dull or yellow, consider using a once-weekly paste of baking soda and water. This paste is placed on a toothbrush just like toothpaste and used to brush the teeth. The mild abrasiveness of the baking soda can help remove stains. However, it’s important not to brush the teeth too hard or it could damage the enamel.
6. Consult with our Dentist Before Using Teeth Bleaching Products
If the above methods don’t work in helping your teen whiten his or her teeth, schedule an appointment at our cosmetic dentistry in Largo, FL. Our dentist can examine your teen’s teeth to determine the causes of the discoloration and recommend the appropriate products to help safely and effectively improve your teen’s smile without damaging his or her teeth. In rare instances, we may even recommend in-office teeth whitening or a Snap-on-Smile, which can help temporarily improve the appearance of your teen’s teeth for important social gatherings.
To schedule an appointment for your teenager’s next dental checkup and teeth cleaning, give us a call at 727-581-1869.